Yellowstone calls for slightly larger bison herds

The proposal offers a middle ground on herd sizes

Yellowstone National Park is proposing a modest increase in bison herd sizes, relying on transferring bison to Tribes and Tribal hunts outside the park to maintain herd sizes. The proposal would also allow for occasionally slaughtering bison and giving the meat and hides to Tribes.

The proposal is part of a final environmental impact statement for managing bison (Bison bison) in the park. The National Park Service’s preferred alternative calls for a herd of 3,500 to 6,500 animals, compared to a population of roughly 5,000 today.

The proposal is a middle ground between those who sought higher numbers and others—including the state of Montana—who wanted to cut the number of bison over concerns about disease transmission to livestock.

“The purpose of the EIS is to preserve an ecologically sustainable population of wild and migratory bison while continuing to work with partners to address issues related to brucellosis transmission, human safety, property damage and to fulfill Tribal trust responsibilities,” the National Park Service said.

Read more from the Montana Free Press.

Header Image: Bison graze along Rose Creek in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. Credit: Neal Herbert/NPS