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Yellowstone park to reconsider controversial bison plan

| July 2, 2020 1:49 PM

LIVINGSTON, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials plan to reconsider how they manage Yellowstone National Park's famous wild bison herds following longstanding complaints over thousands of the animals that have been killed by hunters and agencies as they attempted to migrate into Montana.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly outlined the plans in court documents filed Wednesday. The move came in a lawsuit challenging a federal-state agreement that has governed management of the animals, also known as buffalo, since 2000.

A new analysis of bison management could result in an expansion of where the animals are permitted to roam freely, The Livingston Enterprise reported. The work would involve the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, which has jurisdiction over much of the land surrounding Yellowstone.

Jared Pettinato, who represents Neighbors Against Bison Slaughter, applauded the agencies’ decision to reevaluate bison management.

“We think it’s long overdue,” he said.

Yellowstone had more than 4,800 bison as of last summer. More than 800 were killed by hunters or captured and sent to slaughter this past winter.

Officials insist the culling is necessary to prevent cattle in the Yellowstone region from being infected with brucellosis, which is present in many park bison and can cause abortions in pregnant animals.