Sixty-two bison held for weeks in a fenced pasture Creek Stephens-some or all of which could have tackled slaughter-were released Thursday Back in Yellowstone National Park.
Spokesperson Park to Nash said "all options were considered" in deciding what to do with animals, but ultimately, officials of the Park "felt comfortable releasing all bison."
The animals were originally part of a group of 88 bison circumscribed in the pasture and tested for exposure of brucellosis, a disease that causes the animals and wildlife to stop their young. Of those who tested negative, 25 have been chosen to be herded about Gallatin National forest, part of a project to give more space to wander bison North Park during the winter.
The animals were first admitted to winter on public lands to the North of Yellowstone in decades. Historically, bison were limited to the park for fear that they will spread of brucellosis cattle that graze on private ranches and public lands around the Park.
62 bison released in the Park Thursday, 19 had tested positive for exposure of tested negative brucellosis, 21 and 22 have not been tested.
Dan Brister, Executive Director of the advocacy group Buffalo field campaign, said he was happy to see the animals released from the company.
"I am relieved that they're not going to slaughter," he said. "They weren't caught in the first place."
If the bison is naturally not migrate far south of the Park, officials were prepared Thursday herd them towards trying to keep them from migration outside the boundaries of the Park.
"We hope that they remain and return in the Park," said Nash.
However, the northern part of the Park had more snow than usual this year, officials said. And that makes it more difficult to predict what will the bison.
In winter, is typical of bison migrating out of the Park and in areas with less snow and more opportunities to pasture. It is possible that these 62 bison return to the catchment area of Gardiner-near Stephens Creek--and out of the Park in search of food.
Carly Flandro can be reached at 582-2636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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