• Steam rises off of the colorful Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. Photo courtesy Jacob W. Frank


    National Park ID,MT,WY

Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility Emptied

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Date: February 21, 2008
Contact: Al Nash or Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
February 21, 2008     08-009    
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2015


Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility Emptied

The Stephens Creek bison capture facility is empty for the first time since it opened and began operating on Friday, February 8.  The facility is located northwest of Gardiner, Montana, and inside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.  It is operated under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).

Under the IBMP, the park works with other agencies to conserve a viable, wild bison population while cooperating to protect Montana’s brucellosis-free status.  That means keeping bison separated from cattle present on land outside the park.

Hazing bison back inside the park continues to be the first step of adaptive management of bison in the Stephens Creek boundary area.  When hazing is no longer effective or safe, capture operations may be conducted.

Since mid-December, bison have repeatedly moved through the Stephens Creek area toward or across the park boundary, where cattle graze on private land.  In the past two weeks, some of those animals have been captured and placed in fenced corrals at Stephens Creek.

Under the IBMP, bison that are captured at Stephens Creek may be held for spring release, tested for brucellosis, provided for the quarantine research project, or sent to slaughter.  Since holding wild bison captive for a long period of time may lead to habituation, the park has been working with the other IBMP agencies to ship any animals captured at this time to slaughter.

Sixty bison were transported to slaughter, and 49 bison were hazed from the Stephens Creek area south toward the Roosevelt Arch today.  A total of 290 bison have been captured and shipped to slaughter in the past two weeks.  There are no bison currently being held at Stephens Creek.

For safety reasons, the area around the Stephens Creek facility is closed to the public when capturing, holding, and releasing bison. It remains closed in anticipation of future bison management operations. A map and information on the closure is available for public review during normal business hours at the Chief Ranger’s Office and the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs.

This is the eighth winter the IBMP has been used to guide brucellosis risk management actions.  

The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 

The late summer 2007 population estimate was 4,700 bison. 



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