Park Opens Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility
Contact: Al Nash or Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015
Yellowstone National Park is opening the Stephens Creek bison capture facility in order to hold a group of about 50 bison that has crossed the park boundary northwest of Gardiner, Montana, onto private land. The facility 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 grazing on land outside the park.
A small group of bison has recently, repeatedly moved through the Stephens Creek area across the park boundary onto private lands. Hazing animals back inside the park boundary, which began on December 12, 2007, 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.
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 will work with the other IBMP agencies to ship any animals captured at this time either to slaughter or to the quarantine feasibility study facility at Corwin Springs.
For safety reasons, the area around the Stephens Creek facility will be closed to the public when accepting, holding, and releasing bison. A map and information on the closure will be available for public review during normal business hours at the Chief Ranger’s Office and the Albright Visitor Center.
The last time the Stephens Creek facility operated was in June 2007, when 52 bison captured outside the park’s western boundary were temporarily held in the facility for release back into the park.
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.
– www.nps.gov/yell –
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.