Approximately 600 bison have been removed this year from Yellowstone’s herd of approximately 4,600 bison.
The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) partners use an adaptive management strategy to manage population abundance and distribution. Last summer the partners determined that the removal of approximately 600 bison from the northern range herd should be conducted through harvest by state and tribal hunters or culled directly through capture and consignment to slaughter or research.
Federal, state, and tribal members of the IBMP agreed to use hunting as the primary method for removing bison from the population. This year half of the removal was conducted through capture and consignment from the Stephens Creek capture facility in Yellowstone National Park. This management approach was adopted in the 2014 IBMP Winter Operations Plan approved by all of the partner agencies in December 2013.
As of Monday, March 3, state and tribal permitted hunting outside the park boundary in Montana had removed 199 bison from the north boundary area and an additional 64 bison from the west boundary area.
The National Park Service has concluded bison population management operations at the Stephens Creek facility after consigning 258 bison to tribal partners for nutritional and cultural purposes and transferring 60 bison to UDSA-APHIS for an ongoing research project.
The Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior and the Governor of Montana signed a court-mediated agreement in 2000 that included guidelines to limit the bison population in Yellowstone to around 3,000 to 3,500 animals.
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.
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