Yellowstone National Park began a bison cull at Stephens Creek Capture Facility on Feb. 15, according to the National Parks Service. The park plans to remove a total of 600 to 900 bison this year, including the over 300 individuals removed this past winter, to reduce population growth and prevent a mass migration into Montana. The average population of bison in the area is 4,000 individuals.
Management of bison within Yellowstone and the immediate surrounding area is directed by the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The plan was developed by the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and Montana livestock and wildlife officials in 2000 to guide the management of bison in the area. A representative of Yellowstone National Park says that alternative management solutions are being explored so that bison culls will not be necessary in the future, which would lead to the revision of the Interagency Bison Management Plan. A public comment period will be opened in the fall after revisions to the plan are finalized.
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