Mammoth Hot Springs, WY. – Yellowstone National Park announced on Tuesday that it’s launching a new program designed to capture and quarantine wild bison. According to park officials, the goal of the program is to establish new, disease-free herds. Another goal of the program is to cut down the number of bison slaughtered when they roam outside of the park.
Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk, said, “The purpose of the quarantine program is to augment or establish new conservation and cultural herds of plains bison, enhance cultural and nutritional opportunities for American Indians, and reduce shipments of Yellowstone bison to slaughter facilities.”
A previous quarantine program sparked a legal fight between ranchers and the park over the transfer of dozens of Yellowstone bison to Reservation lands. Ranchers feared the bison would cause property damage or cause the spread of disease.
This newly established program will relocate wild Yellowstone bison to suitable public and tribal lands, once the bison pass strict brucellosis testing. If the bison test negative, they will be re-tested multiple times over a several month span, before being transferred to another facility or onto Reservation lands. 91 bison will jump-start the new plan and are currently being held in park facilities for testing.
Buffalo Field Campaign, a bison advocacy group, opposes the new quarantine program. The group stated that it would like to see the bison restore themselves through natural migration, instead of being treated similarly to livestock.