Written by Lauren Conte, @LaurenConte8
The National Park Service is looking for alternative ways to manage the Yellowstone National Park bison population.
The bison captures started Feb. 15 at Stephens Creek on the north boundary of Yellowstone, according to a National Park Service news release.
Some areas will be restricted to the public throughout the bison operations, according to Local News 8.
“During the capture operations, portions of the park are closed near its border with Montana,” according to Local News 8. “Public access also is restricted at a corral for captured bison.”
Through treaty and public hunting outside of the park, 300 bison have been removed from the population, according to a National Park Service news release.
“Members of the IBMP (Interagency Bison Management Plan) agreed to an operating plan that targets the removal of 600 to 900 bison that migrated out of the park’s northern boundary this winter to reduce population growth and the potential for a mass migration of bison into Montana,” according to the National Park Service website.
Bison are crucial to maintaining the ecological processes within the Yellowstone area, according to the National Park Service.
“Migration is a key element of bison ecology that shapes how they influence our system,” according to the National Park Service. “In fact, they now have access to the entire habitat we manage and preserve in Yellowstone National Park.”
The National Park Service conducted the Environmental Assessment for the quarantine of Yellowstone bison to replace the current IBMP, according to the National Park Service.
The National Park Service’s comment period for the Environmental Assessment on the quarantine of Yellowstone is being pushed back two weeks longer than the original end date. The public comment period will now close on Feb. 29, 2016, according to the National Park Service website.
Stephanie Seay, a wildlife advocate, and Christopher Ketcham, a journalist, requested to halt the hunting of Yellowstone bison migrating from the park in order to be slaughtered, according to Local News 8.
Scott Skavdahl, a United States district judge, has denied the request.
“Federal and state officials plan to kill up to 900 bison this winter through slaughter and hunting,” according to Local News 8. “It’s part an effort to prevent the spread of brucellosis, a disease carried by many bison.”