All they wanted was some food. Now some of the last true, wild bison in America face slaughter simply for leaving Yellowstone National Park.
Harsh winter conditions have buried vegetation deep under snow, and these majestic animals – some of the only pure descendants of America’s original bison herds – are leaving Yellowstone Park for lower elevations to find food.
Nearly 400 Yellowstone bison have been rounded up and are now being held in corrals near Gardiner, Montana where federal officials will determine whether they will live or die.
The bison are being tested for the disease brucellosis. Those that test positive will be slaughtered… soon.
Since the corrals are only designed to hold 400 bison and federal agents have been aggressively rounding up all the animals that stray from Yellowstone National Park, even brucellosis-free bison may be killed as well.
America’s wild bison can play an important role in balanced, natural ecosystems. They once numbered in the millions, but now only a few thousand true bison remain – mainly confined to Yellowstone.
Bison scientists tell us we need multiple herds of at least 1,000 bison to assure their long term survival, and larger herds to resume their role in nature. The Yellowstone area is one of the only places we can accomplish this, yet our own National Park Service and Forest Service are partners in hazing – and often killing – bison whenever they leave the park.
These incredibly important animals are among the only bison to carry the bloodlines of our historic herds. They should be allowed to roam free beyond Yellowstone, not executed over exaggerated fears.