Bison

Bureau of Reclamation

Bison fossils stored at the Idaho Museum of Natural History are getting a new life online as digital 3-D scans. It’s an attempt to make the specimens available to everyone.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park biologists say more than 900 wild bison would need to be killed or removed this winter to begin reducing the size of herds that spill into neighboring Montana.

The park has an estimated 5,500 bison, the highest number since at least 2000.

Park officials meet Thursday with state, tribal and U.S. Agriculture Department representatives to discuss options for managing the animals.

Biologists say 900 would need to be removed just to stabilize population growth.

USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Flickr Creative Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union has asked Yellowstone National Park to allow public access to an area near Gardiner where captured wild bison are being held for slaughter.

An attorney for the ACLU said in a Friday letter to Yellowstone Administrator Dan Wenk that the closure of the Stephens Creek facility and surrounding areas of the park violates the public's right to observe the capture activities.

The civil liberties group represents wildlife advocates from the Buffalo Field Campaign and freelance journalist Christopher Ketcham.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park administrators are recommending the removal of roughly 900 bison next winter through hunting, shipments to slaughter and for research purposes.

The proposal represents about 19 percent of the park's wild bison.

Officials say removing the animals will relieve population pressures that periodically push large numbers of migrating bison into Montana during harsh winters.

Wildlife advocates say a better approach would be allowing bison into areas outside the park where they are now barred.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Ten entities have submitted proposals to take bison from Yellowstone National Park that came through an experimental program to establish new herds of the animals.

Applicants include wildlife agencies in Utah and Minnesota, three American Indian tribes and private conservation groups in Montana, Nebraska, New York and Colorado.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released details of the proposals on Monday. Spokesman Ron Aasheim said the agency hopes to relocate the roughly 135 bison by the end of November.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park is trying to fight online rumors that running bison seen in a YouTube video are fleeing a possible explosion of the park's supervolcano.

The video was posted on March 20, 10 days before a magnitude-4.8 earthquake hit, the strongest quake in 30 years.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Montana wildlife officials say they are seeking proposals to take up to 135 disease-free bison being held under an experimental effort to establish new populations of the animals.

The small herd in the U.S. Department of Agriculture program is made up of animals captured from Yellowstone National Park and their descendants.

The bison have been held for the past several years on behalf of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks at a Bozeman-area ranch owned by philanthropist Ted Turner.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park administrators say shipments of wild bison to slaughter are done for the winter after almost 600 animals were removed in an effort to shrink their numbers.

Federal and state officials said Friday that 258 migrating bison were captured and transferred for slaughter. Hunters have killed at least 264, and 60 were placed in an animal contraception experiment.

The removals were part of an ongoing effort to reduce Yellowstone's herds to about 3,000 animals under an agreement with Montana.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Government and independent scientists say a seven-year study of disease in Yellowstone National Park's wild bison shows non-infected animals can be safely removed and used to start new herds.

The results bolster arguments that an animal driven to the brink of extinction last century could be restored to parts of its once-vast territory without transmitting a disease to cattle.

Efforts to relocate or provide new habitat for the park's surplus bison have stalled recently in the face of livestock industry opposition.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park administrators say they plan to ship as many as 600 bison to slaughter this winter if harsh conditions inside the park spur a large migration of the animals into Montana.

The Billings Gazette reports only 60 or 70 bison have crossed the park's northern boundary at last count this winter.

A state-federal agreement signed in 2000 requires the bison population to be kept at roughly 3,000 animals. There were about 4,600 as of June 2013.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park administrators say shooting wild bison with vaccine-laced "biobullets" to prevent the spread of an animal disease would be too ineffective to justify the expense.

Tuesday's announcement means a program that has led to the periodic capture and slaughter of thousands of migrating bison will continue.

For more than a decade, wildlife officials have weighed shooting Yellowstone bison with absorbable, vaccine-laced bullets to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis to livestock. The concept was supported by cattle ranchers.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Saturday has been designated "National Bison Day" under a U.S. Senate resolution sponsored by western lawmakers.

The measure is intended to promote the cultural and economic contributions of bison in the United States. It was introduced by Wyoming Republican Sen. Michael Enzi and passed by unanimous consent.

Bison advocates in Congress also this week introduced a broader proposal to elevate the Plains bison to a status similar to that of the iconic bald eagle. A similar measure stalled last Congress.

Video: What Two Bison Think Of The Government Shutdown

Oct 15, 2013
Screengrab from WyoShooter308 / YouTube

It's day 15 of the federal government shutdown and regional bison have had enough too. 

WyoShooter308 captured this video of two bison having a little fun with Grand Teton National Park barricades just north of Kelly, Wyoming.

A red pickup rolls into a 1,000-acre pasture of dry grassland on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in northern Montana. Mark Azure, director of the reservation's fish and wildlife department, is out looking for buffalo when he spots about two dozen of the furry beasts gathering around a watering hole.

The animals are "grazing, wallowing, drinking, checking us out," Azure explains. He says the tribes have been working to see these bison here for years.

"This is their home, this is where they came from," he says.