By 2025, the National Park Service will reduce the size of the Kaibab Plateau (formerly the House Rock) bison herd through live capture and transfer to Tribes, and lethal culling with Skilled Volunteers. Grand Canyon National Park is reducing the size to under 200 in order to protect park resources from the impacts of the bison population.
Lethal culling with Skilled Volunteers will be piloted in 2021. There will be 12 week long opportunities that will be jointly announced by Arizona Game and Fish Department and Grand Canyon National Park. Per agreement, Arizona Game and Fish Department will run the application portal and randomly select applicants who meet the criteria to the National Park Service. For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Bison Reduction to Date
As of January 2021, a total of 209 bison have been removed from the population. The park has held two successful live capture and relocation operations with a total of 88 bison being transferred through the InterTribal Buffalo Council to 5 different Tribes in 4 different states. The park expects to continue yearly live capture and relocation until reduction goals are met. In the same time frame and additional 118 bison have been harvested off the park on the Kaibab National Forest during hunts managed by Arizona Game and Fish Department. For more information in participating in these hunts see their webpage. Other bison mortalities are also accounted for in this total (car-bison collisions, etc.).
In partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, park biologists have outfitted bison with tracking collars to assist in annual population counts in order to determine whether or not reduction goals are being met. In addition, these tracking collars allow scientists to study the bison herd migratory patterns and population size.
An operational summary report of bison management from 2018-2019: 2018–2019 operations report.
The Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significant Impact and other documents can be found on the NPS Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website.
If you have any specific questions related to bison management at Grand Canyon, please e-mail us.