Friday, November 20, 2015

Why Would Yellowstone National Park Want To Kill 1000 Bison?

Mitigating populations of large animals in a world where they must coexist with human enterprise is no easy task. After the backlash against the killing of Cecil the lion and other so-called “trophy hunts for conservation”, the general public was made aware of the tough decisions wildlife conservation professionals need to make every single day in the name of saving species—and also making humans happy. This controversial cull was started in 2000 when conservation officials were looking to curb the spread of the livestock disease brucellosis as the bison were wandering into ranches in Montana during the cold Wyoming winters. Currently there are about 5000 bison in the park, but thousands are expected to leave the park and continue into Montana where their presence is not welcome by ranchers who say that along with bringing disease, the bison overgraze their land. As Yellowstone spokeswoman Sandy Snell-Dobert says: “If there was more tolerance north of the park in Montana for wildlife, particularly bison as well as other wildlife, to travel outside the park boundaries, it wouldn’t be an issue.” The target population for these bison is closer to 3000, and their numbers continue to grow desipte aggressive culling in previous years. Last year, 700 of the bison were captured and turned over to local American Indian tribes to be used for food. While the Nez Perce tribe of Idaho supports the cull, the spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana has spoken out against it. Opinion is very mixed on this issue and leaders from the American Indian tribes and other state and federal agencies will meet this week to decide on a plan moving forward...more

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