Yellowstone Proposes Bison Quarantine on Reservation

Proposal anticipates capturing up to 150 bison annually for transfer

By Molly Priddy

BILLINGS — Yellowstone National Park wants to transfer hundreds of wild bison to an American Indian reservation in northeastern Montana to reduce the number of animals it ships to slaughter for disease prevention.

About half the park’s bison test positive for exposure to the disease brucellosis.

To prevent possible transmission to cattle, thousands of bison attempting to migrate into Montana have been captured and slaughtered in recent years. Park administrators have struggled to find alternatives.

Wednesday’s proposal anticipates capturing up to 150 bison annually for transfer.

Animals testing negative for brucellosis would spend up to four years in quarantine on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Up to 70 percent of the bison could later be relocated.

Yellowstone and Montana officials have plans to kill 600 to 900 bison this winter through hunting and shipments to slaughter.