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Yellowstone considers quarantine program for bison

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm •  Published: July 30, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park is seeking public comment on a proposal to capture and quarantine wild bison so disease-free animals can be relocated to create new herds outside the park, Yellowstone officials said Wednesday.

The announcement comes after the Department of Interior last month identified 20 parcels of public lands in 10 states that could be suitable for relocated Yellowstone bison.

Yellowstone's roughly 4,600 bison are prized for their pure genetics. But many carry the disease brucellosis, which can cause pregnant livestock to prematurely abort their young.

Thousands of park bison have been shipped to slaughter in recent years to control their numbers. Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said a quarantine program could offer some relief for those population pressures, and simultaneously advance the restoration of bison to new areas.

The quarantine facilities could be located inside the park, on tribal lands or elsewhere, park officials said.

Public meetings on the quarantine proposal are scheduled for Aug. 18 in Gardiner and Aug. 19 in Bozeman.

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