Bison Released from Stephen's Creek Facility
Contact: Nash, (307)344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307)344-2012
Approximately 300 bison were released from the Stephens Creek capture facility Monday morning and headed back to the interior of Yellowstone National Park.
The bison had been held at the Stephens Creek facility near the park’s northern boundary since March 22. During this 26-day period, no bison were sent to slaughter. Two cows aborted calves and two other cows died. One orphaned newborn calf and one sick, suffering yearling were euthanized. Two cows with newborn calves and a handful of pregnant cows remain at Stephens Creek. They’ll be released Tuesday morning to travel back into the park at their own, slower pace. The temporary closure of the “Boundary Lands” area will be lifted in a few days once the bison have left the area.
This was the third time the Stephens Creek facility was used this winter. The facility had previously been in operation from January 11-27 and from February 10-17. This winter an estimated 1255 bison were captured at Stephens Creek; 849 animals were shipped to slaughter with the meat distributed to food assistance programs. The late winter population was estimated at 3500 bison.
The Stephens Creek facility is operated under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) to manage the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to livestock that graze on lands adjacent to the park. This is was the sixth winter the IBMP has been used to guide brucellosis risk management actions.
The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to protect Montana’s brucellosis-free status while allowing for the conservation of a viable, wild bison population. Protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status requires keeping bison from mixing with cattle grazing on land outside the park.
The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.