The bison, held in captivity since wandering outside of Yellowstone because of concerns over possible brucellosis transmission to area cattle, have been homeless since 2005 and 2006. The state of Montana and the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have been seeking a home for the 87 bison; after discussions with area Indian tribes, the decision was made to hand them over to Turner.
At a price: as part of the deal Turner keeps 75 percent of the offspring from the herd, which could be as high as 150 bison.
That’s too high a price to pay, according to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in Montana’s Gallatin County court system. They saw if Turner is to care for the bison, he should be paid a flat fee or some to another financial arrangement; the transfer of bison should not be part of the deal. The lawsuit was filed by the Gallatin Wildlife Association, the Western Watersheds Project, Buffalo Field Campaign and Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation.
Why Montana needs to find a home outside of Yellowstone National Park is a puzzling issue. The bison population is down a little, so there’s little danger the reintroduction of 87 bison would strain Yellowstone resources. The bison have consistently tested negative for brucellosis, a disease that can cause pregnant cattle to spontaneously abort their fetuses; there’s never been a documented case of bison passing brucellosis on to cattle.
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