BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park captured 37 bison that were migrating outside the park and sent most to slaughter under a program that seeks to prevent the animals from spreading disease to cattle in neighboring Montana, a park official said Thursday.
Officials are aiming to remove up to 900 of Yellowstone’s 5,000 bison this winter through slaughter, relocations and hunting. The goal is to keep the park’s herds from growing and prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis, under an agreement between state, federal and tribal officials.
Twenty-seven of the bison captured over the past week were sent to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for slaughter and will provide food for tribal members, Yellowstone bison coordinator Tim Reid said Thursday.
Six of the captured bison will be held in quarantine for future relocation to tribal lands and four calves were released, Reid said.
Separately, two bison have been shot by hunters so far this winter, said Greg Lemon with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Bison routinely leave Yellowstone and head north into Montana each winter, raising concerns that the animals could spread brucellosis, a bacterial disease that can cause cows to abort their calves. Brucellosis can spread to people but is rare in humans in the US
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