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Crowd Skeptical of Bison Vaccination Plan

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – People attending a public hearing on a Yellowstone National Park plan to vaccinate bison to reduce the incidence of brucellosis want to know how it will benefit bison.

The Park Service has proposed using air rifles to fire darts carrying the vaccine at bison. Park scientists estimate using the vaccine darts on female bison and calves could reduce the incidence of the disease, thus reducing the chance the animals could infect cattle.

No case of bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle has been documented in the wild. Still, more than 3,000 Yellowstone bison have been slaughtered over the past decade to keep them away from cattle and bison that wander out of the northern part of the park are hazed back in the spring.

Mark Pearson with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition asked park officials how bison management might change if the vaccine program was initiated.

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