The Eventual Elimination of Brucellosis from Greater Yellowstone Wildlife
On April 24, 2003, the Department of the Interior in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture held a meeting in conjunction with the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee (GYIBC) in Jackson, WY, in order to seek public input about a goal to eventually eliminate brucellosis from wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Area. The Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee has a stated objective to plan for the elimination of brucellosis from wildlife populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) by 2010.
The National Park Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey (all agencies of the Department of the Interior) work cooperatively with the U.S. Forest Service and the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and in collaboration with the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to further the goals and objectives of the GYIBC. All the parties to this effort have agreed to core principles which will guide any actions proposed or taken toward the goal of eliminating brucellosis including:
One objective of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) is a commitment to the eventual elimination of brucellosis from bison and other wildlife. While elimination of brucellosis is not within the scope of the IBMP, the plan is one of several steps in this process. Actions authorized by the Record of Decision will demonstrate systematic progress toward eventual elimination of brucellosis. Consistent with the long term nature of the brucellosis elimination goal, Interior will continue the implementation of the IBMP as a means to reduce the risk of brucellosis transmission from wildlife to livestock in the GYA.
The Department of the Interior is also urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allocate resources and work cooperatively with the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct the research and testing necessary to improve vaccine effectiveness, improve mechanisms for remote delivery of vaccine, and improve diagnostic methods for detecting animals infected by Brucella abortus..
The Departments of the Interior and Agriculture have no intention to utilize a broad scale program of test and slaughter of wildlife in the GYA as a means to eliminate brucellosis. Currently, under specific conditions articulated in the IBMP, bison are from time to time tested for brucellosis and may be shipped to slaughter as a means to manage bison that are free ranging beyond the Yellowstone National Park boundary.
Any proposed action to eliminate brucellosis in wildlife within the boundaries of a National Park Service unit will be subject to additional environmental planning processes (using NEPA guidelines). Actions to accomplish brucellosis elimination will be conducted in such a manner that will insure wild and free ranging wildlife resources will be left unimpaired for future generations.
April 28, 2003
Did You Know?
There are more people hurt by bison than by bears each year in Yellowstone. Park regulations state that visitors must stay at least 25 yards away from bison or elk and 100 yards away from bears.