Lovell wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the plan, saying it was “distasteful,” but ruled that it was an accepted management plan in an attempt to prevent the transmission of brucellosis to cattle grazing on federal and state land.
Around 500 Yellowstone bison are captive at the Stephens Creek detention facility after trying to leave Yellowstone for lower ground and better grazing outside the park boundaries. The original plan was to test the bison for brucellosis and then put down the bison testing positively, but now there’s uncertainty as to whether all 500 or so (that’s a rough estimate) will be put down.
The coalition of wildlife, Native American and sporting groups say they will appeal.
There are currently 3,700 bison under Park management, and if more bison head north — a move that’s expected — slaughters could bring that number dangerously close to 3,000, a number that IBMP officials say is necessary for maintaining a healthy population.
Brucellosis is a disease causing spontaneous abortions in cattle, bison and elk; the goal for the Montana cattle industry is that their herds be certified as brucellosis-free. There’s never been a documented case of brucellosis transmitted from bison to cattle; the more likely transmitter is the elk population.