FOIA documents reveal Interior’s 2018 push to manage Yellowstone bison like cattle | Outdoors

“I am feeling a lot like Phil Connor (Bill Murray’s character in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’), and that makes today February the 2nd. I am a bit numb from seeing this proposal so many times I don’t know how to respond now.”

Yet progress on a new bison management plan has stalled.

Buffalo Field Campaign’s fight for the park documents began in 2018. 

“This threat of domestication has been hovering over buffalo for many years,” he said.

Yellowstone is home to one of the most iconic bison populations in the nation. The story of a small herd’s survival, when thousands of other plains bison were eliminated during the 1800s, is a success story for wildlife conservation.

As the bison population has grown in the park, with the herd numbering more than 4,800 animals at last count, Montana officials and lawmakers have been able to force the Park Service to annually cull and slaughter hundreds of animals every winter.

Buffalo Field Campaign’s website says that 12,575 Yellowstone bison have been killed and another 540 have been captured since 1985. The purpose of the capture and slaughter program is to keep bison from migrating into Montana.

Last winter, 442 bison were removed from the park through the capture and slaughter program. Another 105 were isolated for quarantine to see if they can be eventually transferred alive to Indian tribes. About 280 were killed, mostly by tribal hunters exercising their treaty rights.

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