Environment | Opinion

Editorial: Transfer bison to Fort Peck Tribes instead of slaughterhouse

Bison from Yellowstone Nation Park were transferred to the Fort Peck Tribes in November 2014 after being held in the state of Montana for more than a decade. Photo by Alexis Bonogofsky / Defenders of Wildlife

The Billings Gazette advocates for the transfer of excess bison from Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Peck Tribes in Montana:
With a management target of removing 700 to 900 bison from the park this winter (including the hunters’ total), the National Park Service’s capture and ship-to-slaughter operation will be busy. That target range was agreed to by the several federal and Montana agencies that try to manage the bison numbers according to tolerance for them outside the park, to keep them separated from cattle and to avoid any risk of brucellosis infection in livestock.

The National Park Service has proposed another alternative: Quarantining some captured bison that test negative for brucellosis and transferring them to the Fort Peck Tribes. This preferred alternative in the NPS Environmental Assessment is out for public comment through Monday.

The tribes are prepared to care for up to 300 bison, said Robert Magnan, head of the Fish & Game Division on the northeastern Montana reservation. The tribes have been tending Yellowstone bison since 2012, having received animals that had been held at Ted Turner’s ranch from a previous government quarantine operation.

The 258 Yellowstone bison (Magnan calls them buffalo) graze 13,000 acres on the reservation. They are wild, but not “free roaming,” he said.

Get the Story:
Editorial: An alternative to Yellowstone bison slaughter (The Billings Gazette 2/14)

Another Opinion:
Mark Robbins: Don't transport bison out of Yellowstone Park (The Billings Gazette 2/18)

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