Yellowstone Bison Capture Operations Are Underway Despite Sabotage
Neal Herbert National Park Service
UPDATE: Second Act of Sabotage at Stephens Creek Facility
- Sometime between 9 p.m.February 21 and 6 a.m. February 22, unknown individuals intentionally compromised the fences at Stephens Creek releasing approximately 73 of the 96 bison that were inside the pen.
- Many, if not all, of the bison remained in the immediate area. Most returned to the pen via the same illegal fence openings over the course of the morning.
- Park staff repaired the fence to re-secure the facility by mid-day.
- The 96 bison captured this past week had not yet been processed or tested for brucellosis. Some would have been held for possible quarantine, while others would have been transferred to Native American tribes and shipped to slaughter.
- The National Park Service has initiated a new criminal investigation for this incident.
- The park is reviewing security measures at the facility and will make improvements immediately.
- "This act of sabotage, along with the incident that occurred on January 16, is a setback for bison conservation," said Superintendent Dan Wenk. "Creating a successful quarantine program will allow the transfer of live animals to tribes to develop conservation herds on tribal lands. The saboteurs are only ensuring more bison will be shipped to slaughter."
Yellowstone National Park staff began capturing bison last week, according to a news release.
Of the 96 bison currently held at Stephens Creek in the northern area of the park, some will be held for possible quarantine and some will be transferred to Native American tribes and shipped to slaughter.
The Park takes these actions in support of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) goal to reduce the population this winter. Partners are aiming to cull between 600 and 900 animals through a combination of shipping and the public and tribal hunt.
On Jan. 4, IBMP partners agreed to a 2018 winter operations plan to reduce Yellowstone’s current population of 4,800 bison because Montana has limited tolerance for natural bison migrations from the Park onto state lands.
The bison capture and shipping operations may continue through March.
Information about the number of animals that are captured, processed, shipped and hunted will be provided every other week in IBMP updates of the operations.
Learn about the annual bison migration from senior bison biologist Rick Wallen in a Facebook Live interview.
Visit the Park's website for more information about bison management.
The Park will provide other information when available.