Yellowstone bison population expected to be around 4,200 - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Sunny
12.2°C

Yellowstone bison population expected to be around 4,200

May 10, 2018 - 11:07 AM

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Yellowstone National Park's booming bison population, which has strained resources and created problems for nearby ranchers, is expected to reach a level that park officials would like to maintain despite being much higher than the official population goal.

Bison numbers peaked at about 5,500 in 2016, leading to 2,300 animals being hunted and slaughtered after leaving the protected national park in search of food during the past two winters.

There will be about 4,200 bison in the nation's largest wild herd once calving is finished this spring, Yellowstone bison program co-ordinator Tim Reid told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in a story published Thursday.

That may be an ideal number because it's the long-term population average and it strikes what Reid calls a "sociopolitical balance."

"It gets us out of this kind of episodic cycle of the last 10 years of population build up and extremely large culls that are unpopular," Reid said.

The official population goal for the park's bison population is 3,000, set in 2000 by the federal, state and tribal officials who wrote the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

Montana wildlife officials say they would need to study the matter further before agreeing to officially change the population goal from 3,000 to 4,200 bison.

"It's definitely worth discussing," said Mark Deleray, the Bozeman regional supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

One of the main concerns by Montana ranchers who want to keep the bison population low is the potential spread of the disease brucellosis, which can cause livestock to abort their young.

Bison carry brucellosis, though there hasn't been a documented case of a bison transmitting the disease to livestock.

Wildlife advocates said acceptance of a larger bison population would be welcome, but that the population goal should not be tied to a specific number.

"Any population size needs to be a fluid, flexible range that accounts for the different variables that affect bison on the landscape," said Matt Skoglund, director of the Natural Resources Defence Council's Northern Rockies office.

___

Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

___

This story has been updated to correct the total number of bison killed since 2016 to 2,300.

___

Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

  • Popular kamloops News
  • Comments
  • Police make arrests in Vernon homicide
    VERNON – RCMP have two people in custody in connection with a suspicious Vernon death now deemed a homicide. Vernon RCMP media relations officer Const. Kelly Brett says in a media rele
  • Kamloops man nabbed in warehouse break-in
    KAMLOOPS - Police have arrested a 43-year-old local man after he broke into a City of Kamloops warehouse, states an RCMP media release. Police say the dog unit was called in after a 6 a.m. t
  • How Kamloops got to be the only B.C. city operating a government cannabis store on Oct. 17
    KAMLOOPS - Kamloops is expected to be the only city in the province to have a legal store where you can buy cannabis Wednesday, and it’s all down to being prepared and a chance encounter.
  • TRENDING NOW: Toy mocks dog look-alike
    %%nodefaultimage%% This adorable dog is getting mocked by a robotic toy that looks and sounds like him or her. If you have dogs in the room, they may react to this.
  • Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents
    HOUSTON - Within hours of being booked at a Border Patrol station in far West Texas, two teenage sisters from Guatemala came forward to allege that an agent conducted an improper strip search.
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile