January 6, 2016, 36 mins ago
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Members of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) have signed a winter operations plan that aims to reduce the current population of 4,900 animals.
The announcement was made in a press release from Yellowstone National Park.
The park says that because the Yellowstone bison population has high reproductive and survival rates, it will be necessary to cull 600-900 animals to offset the population increase expected this year.
The population will be decreased using two methods, according to the IBMP:
(1) Public and tribal hunting outside the park
(2) Capturing bison near the park boundary and transferring them to Native American tribes for processing and distribution of meat and hides to their members.
The press release says that bison are a migratory species and they move across a vast landscape. When they are inside Yellowstone, they have access to all habitat. But in the winter, when some bison migrate to lower elevations outside the park in search of food, the surrounding states and some private landowners don’t offer the same access to habitat.
Wild bison are only allowed in limited areas outside of Yellowstone…
“Many people are uncomfortable with the practice of culling bison, including the National Park Service,” says Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk.