BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A panel of scientists recommended against ramping up a vaccine program as a way to reduce disease prevalence in Yellowstone National Park bison, park officials said Friday.
The eight-member panel of university scientists and government researchers was convened this week by park administrators and Montana wildlife officials.
After three days of deliberations, they said proposals to more aggressively vaccinate wild bison against brucellosis would be ineffective at suppressing the disease. Brucellosis can cause pregnant animals to miscarry.
Some ranchers in Montana want the park to eradicate the disease from Yellowstone bison to prevent transmissions to cattle. About half the park's more than 4,000 bison have been exposed to brucellosis, which is also found in elk.
Yellowstone's chief scientist, Dave Hallac, said the scientific panel's recommendations will be considered as the park seeks to finish a decade-long bison vaccination study that includes the possibility of shooting the animals with specialized vaccination guns.