The ultimate goal is to release those bison testing negative for brucellosis back into Yellowstone come springtime.
It’s been a snowy winter in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and we’re seeing large numbers of bison moving to lower ground in search of more accessible grazing. That means bison moving onto public and private land past the Park’s northern boundary, and it also means hazing those bison back into the Park. Normally this means hazing the bison to the Stephens Creek capture facility.
But that facility, located inside the northern boundary of the park and northwest of Gardiner, is close to full, with approximately 543 bison held in over 10 acres of fenced pastures, where they are being provided hay and water.
So that’s meant a change in protocol. On Sunday 45 bison were hazed back into the Park and Stephens Creek. The 20 testing positive for brucellosis will be staying there; the 25 testing negative were transported today to the Brogan Bison Facility in Corwin Springs, Montana, where they will be held for release back into the park in the spring.
The moves represent the new operating protocol: Bison captured in subsequent hazing operations will be sorted, tested, and seronegatives transported to the Brogan Bison Facility. Eventually they will be released back into the Park.
What happens to the bison testing positive for brucellosis remains to be seen. No bison have been slaughtered this winter, but the outlook for the infected bison doesn’t look good over the long haul.
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