HELENA – Montana Governor Steve Bullock has temporarily blocked the slaughter of hundreds of bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Bullock sent a letter to the Park Superintendent Daniel Wenk on January 19, 2017 stating “I am invoking my authority under Executive Order No. 16-2011 to prohibit the transfer of these or any other bison from Department of Interior managed lands or facilities, to slaughter in Montana.”
This includes the 40 bison that are currently held in the Stephens Creek quarantine facility in Yellowstone that were scheduled to go to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, once declared brucellosis free.
The halt was ordered after, “We received word last week that the Park was going to slaughter 40 bison slated to go to Fort Peck as a way to make room in the corrals for more bison,” explained Ronja Abel, Bullock’s communications director.
Abel says they are looking for a facility in Montana to house the 40 bison hopeful will find a solution in the next few days that works for everyone.
As of January 12, 2017 at least 100 bison from Yellowstone had been trapped in corrals as the National Park Service works to reduce herd sizes.
The management process is part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan and the Park Service wants to reduce the Park’s northern bison herd between 900 and 1,400.
The animals migrate from the Yellowstone to an area in Montana during the winter.
After bison cross the park boundary into Montana they become fair game for licensed state hunters and tribal members with treaty hunting rights. So far this winter, tribal hunters have taken 80 bison and state hunters have harvested 19.
Yellowstone’s total bison population is about 5,500.