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Annual Yellowstone bison slaughter underway

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 3/5/20

Yellowstone National Park’s bison constitute one of the last and largest wild populations in North America, and each year their natural migration to lower elevations in southern Montana in order to winter graze at lower elevations spells trouble—waiting for them, a cohort of hunters and a state-sponsored slaughter program meant to curb risk of overpopulation as well as transmission of the disease brucellosis to domestic cattle. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “population reduction would come through a combination of hunting, slaughter and placing up to 110 animals into quarantine for potential relocation at a later date,” which has drawn ire from conservations and animal and wildlife activists, who decry the act as unjust for a the endemic and once bountiful species. The slaughter, hunting and quarantine practice began 20 years ago in a bid to reduce the spread of brucellosis to cattle—no such bison-to-cattle transmission has ever been documented—and this year, state and federal officials want to cull some 900 individuals.

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