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Yellowstone's Summer 2011 Bison Population Estimate Released

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Date: August 16, 2011
Contact: Al Nash or Dan Hottle, (307) 344-2015

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2011           11-086
Al Nash or Dan Hottle (307) 344-2015

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
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Yellowstone’s Summer 2011 Bison Population Estimate Released


Yellowstone National Park has completed its annual summer bison population abundance monitoring.

The population is estimated to be 3,700 bison. The estimate is based on a series of aerial surveys. There are an estimated 2,300 bison on the Northern Range this summer, with 1,400 in the Central Interior herd.

Winter mortality was estimated at 500 bison. There were 583 calves-of-the-year observed in a June aerial survey.

The population was estimated at 3,900 bison last summer. The peak population estimate of 5,000 bison was recorded in the summer 2005.  

The observed rate of population change this past year is within the natural range of expectation for wild bison. The rate at which wildlife populations increase in abundance is a reflection of the combined effects of reproduction and mortality, and is heavily influenced by age structure of the population, and environmental conditions encountered over the course of time.
 
This population estimate is used to inform adaptive management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). Specific management actions may be modified based on expected late winter population levels as corroborated by the summer population estimate.
 
The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status.

The cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the InterTribal Buffalo Council, the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes, and the Nez Perce Tribe. More information on the IBMP can be found at http://ibmp.info.


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Did You Know?

Dog Hooked to Travois for Transporting Goods.

Some groups of Shoshone Indians, who adapted to a mountain existence, chose not to acquire the horse. These included the Sheep Eaters, or Tukudika, who used dogs to transport food, hides, and other provisions. The Sheep Eaters lived in many locations in Yellowstone.