West Yellowstone Bison Hazing Operation Set to Begin Wednesday
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
WEST YELLOWSTONE BISON HAZING OPERATION SET TO BEGIN WEDNESDAY
The five agencies operating under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) are planning a joint operation to begin moving bison in the area of West Yellowstone, Montana, to their summer range in the interior of Yellowstone National Park.
The first hazing operation is set to begin Wednesday morning, utilizing riders on horseback and a helicopter where appropriate.
Under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), the park works with other agencies to conserve a viable, wild bison population while cooperating to protect Montana’s brucellosis-free status.
Brucellosis risk management requires keeping bison separated from cattle and off land where cattle may graze later in the year. The greatest risk of the transmission of brucellosis comes from the tissue and fluids associated with bison birthing or abortion events during bison calving season, which is entering its peak.
A group of about 70 bison near the park boundary north of West Yellowstone at Baker’s Hole will be hazed in small groups east along the Madison River corridor. As they vacate that location, some of the nearly 300 bison currently on Horse Butte will be hazed toward Baker’s Hole.
In this fashion, small groups of bison will be slowly and consecutively moved until they are all back well inside the park along the Firehole River and in Fountain Flats. These are thermal areas where spring plant growth has already produced enough new forage to attract and hold bison. It is possible that these hazing operations will continue for the next few weeks.
Over 330 bison remain in the Stephens Creek corrals, which are located inside the park northwest of Gardiner, Montana. Park wildlife biologists expect spring plant growth to continue to improve in order to allow those bison to be successfully released back into the park in the near future.
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.
– www.nps.gov/yell –