HELENA, Mont. (AP) — National Park Service officials say aerial surveys have found the estimated bison population in Yellowstone National Park is 4,900 animals.
The park service said in a statement Wednesday those numbers are similar to last year's summer estimate, and just 100 shy of 2005's peak population of 5,000 bison.
The bison observed from the air in June include 740 calves born this year.
Earlier this month, Yellowstone administrators recommended the removal of about 900 bison next winter through hunting, slaughter and research.
They estimate that would drop the population to 4,600 animals.
An agreement between state and federal officials sets the target population between 3,000 and 3,500 bison.
The aerial surveys are used to plan management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan between federal, state and tribal officials.