Yellowstone proposes slaughter of 1,000 bison

Bison

The population of bison in Yellowstone National Park has grown too large. Photo: alexroza16/Twenty20

Yellowstone park officials have proposed to kill 1,000 of the park's wild bison to keep the population near 3,000.

The Associated Press reports there were about 5,000 bison during the summer.

The move is meant to protect nearby ranchers' herds since during the winter, the wild bison sometimes migrate out of the park boundaries into southwestern Montana.

Ranchers worry about overgrazing and the spread of the disease, brucellosis, which causes cows to miscarry their young.

“Most bison migrate to lower elevation areas in response to such severe weather events —which eventually brings them into conflict with agriculture and development,” the National Park Service officials write on the website.

Park officials proposed to kill female bison and calves.

The cull is part of an agreement with Montana and native tribes in the region.

Hunting bison is restricted during certain times of the year and is also limited by location.

It wouldn't be the first time the National Park Service had to slaughter bison although this many haven't been killed in eight years.

The Park Service is aware of the unpopularity of the cull but writes that it is necessary to keep the bison at a certain population to avoid starvation later on, when the population outgrows its food source.

If approved, hunting will remove 300 to 400 bison thanks to a public and tribal treaty and the remainder will be sent to meat processing and research facilities.

Officials met yesterday and are expected to announce the decision in the coming days.

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