Bison Management Operations Continue Near Gardiner
Contact: Al Nash or Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
BISON MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS CONTINUE NEAR GARDINER
The Stephens Creek bison capture facility northwest of Gardiner, Montana, and inside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park, has been open and operating since Friday, February 8. The facility is operated under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).
During the past week, several small groups of bison have repeatedly moved through the Stephens Creek area toward or across the park boundary, where cattle graze on private land. 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 animals 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. A group of about 30 more bison were hazed and captured Wednesday afternoon.
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 is working 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.
A total of 83 bison have been transported to slaughter since the Stephens Creek facility began operating last week. 19 calves were tested for exposure to brucellosis as candidates for the quarantine feasibility research project being conducted by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Since the project is currently unable to accept these calves at the Corwin Springs facility, the 17 seronegative calves will be transported to slaughter along with a number of other bison Thursday. Currently a total of approximately 90 bison are in the Stephens Creek facility awaiting transport.
For safety reasons, the area around the Stephens Creek facility is closed to the public when capturing, holding, and releasing bison. 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.
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 –
Note to representatives of the media and interest groups:
Ongoing operations in the closure area have precluded our ability to schedule any small group trips into the closure area for representatives of the media, park employees, or interest groups. We will look for an opportunity to offer this access after the conclusion of the President’s Day holiday weekend. Requests must be made in advance by calling the Public Affairs Office Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm MST at 307-344-2013.