New management plan for Yellowstone bison floated

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm •  Published: March 28, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state of Montana and the National Park Service say they will collect information for a possible new plan to manage bison herds at Yellowstone National Park that have long been subject to slaughter over concerns they could spread disease.

In a statement issued Friday, the Park Service and the state Department of Livestock and Fish, Wildlife and Parks said they will prepare an environmental impact statement before soliciting public comment on future bison management. The goal is to possibly replace a 14-year-old management plan.

The agencies are trying to conserve a viable wild population of Yellowstone bison while reducing the risk of brucellosis transmission to livestock in Montana. About half of Yellowstone's 4,600 bison test positive for the disease, which causes pregnant animals to prematurely abort their young.

Under the 2000 agreement, thousands of bison were killed as they attempted to leave the park.

Policies dictating the capture and slaughter of bison entering Montana were loosened under former Gov. Brian Schweitzer. But resistance to further change runs strong within the livestock industry because of fears of the disease spreading.

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