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Yellowstone Late Winter Bison Population Estimate

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Date: March 26, 2009
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
Contact: 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
March 26, 2009     09-018    
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2015


Yellowstone Late Winter Bison Population Estimate Released

Yellowstone National Park recently conducted a late winter bison distribution survey.  Based on the results of this survey, the late winter population is estimated to be approximately 2,900 bison. 

The estimate takes into account the 2008 late summer population estimate of 3,000 bison, scientific estimates of over-winter mortality, and known brucellosis risk management and hunting mortalities.

State licensed and tribal hunters removed one bison from the population this year.  No bison have been captured or shipped to slaughter, or otherwise removed from the population this winter.

The population estimate is used to guide adaptive management strategies 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. 

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 Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. 

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

- www.nps.gov/yell -


Did You Know?

Fire in Yellowstone Pineland in 1988

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.