Bison capture operations have begun in Yellowstone National Park.
Bison are being herded to the Park’s Stephens Creek facility, near the North Entrance/Gardiner, as part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan.
Participants in the IBMP have agreed to remove 800-900 bison migrating out of Yellowstone this winter. These agents hope to curb bison population growth as well as the potential for bison to migrate en masse into Montana.
This winter, federal, state, and tribal members of the IBMP have agreed to hunt bison primarily, which will remove around 350 from the Yellowstone’s population. Meanwhile, 500-600 additional bison that leave the Park’s boundaries may be captured and given to tribal groups. Said tribal groups would process the bison for meat and other parts, for the sake of nutrition and cultural practices.
For the time being, the Stephens Creek facility and its environs are closed to the public. A map of the closed area is available for personal viewing at the Superintendent’s Office, the Chief Ranger’s Office, and the temporary Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs.
Since 2000, the IBMP has sought to limit Yellowstone’s bison population to roughly 3,000 head. The intention of this winter’s hunting program is to keep the bison population within the plan’s guidelines. More broadly, the IBMP seeks to limit bison intrusion into Montana and prevent possible transmission of brucellosis.
Below is a list of agencies and groups participating in the IBMP:
- National Park Service
- U.S. Forest Service
- Montana Department of Livestock
- Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
- InterTribal Buffalo Council
- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
- Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
- Nez Perce Tribe
For anyone interested in reading more about the IBMP, read here.