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Yellowstone: Release of Test Group Of Bison

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avatar Yellowstone: Release of Test Group Of Bison
January 19, 2011 04:59PM

Release of Test Group Of Bison

A group of state, federal, and tribal partners cooperate under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status.

Risk management concerns have restricted bison from most lands outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. However, Step 2 of the IBMP allows for a mixed group of up to 25 seronegative, monitored and tagged bison to be released onto the land between the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and Yankee Jim Canyon, at the northern end of the Gardiner Basin. Under the IBMP, these bison will be allowed in this area outside the park boundary until April 15. The agencies will monitor the movement of these 25 bison to determine how they use this landscape with the hope that in the future 50 and eventually 100 bison can access this area.

This test group of bison is set to be released from the Stephens Creek holding facility on Wednesday morning, January 19. They will be trailed by an interagency group of riders on horseback as they move north through Yellowstone National Park and along the Old Yellowstone Trail onto Gallatin National Forest land.

Representatives of the media and interest groups who want to be on location to monitor the progress of the test group of bison after their release are asked to join representatives of the IBMP partner agencies along the Old Yellowstone Trail at the intersection of the turnoff to the Stephens Creek area north of Gardiner, Montana and inside the Yellowstone National Park boundary no later than 9:30 a.m.

Once the bison are released, the group will be escorted a distance north on the Old Yellowstone Trail to a location providing a good view of bison and riders. After the bison have moved out of view, the IBMP representatives will accompany those interested in continuing to monitor the progress of the test group of bison to a subsequent viewing location at the Devil’s Slide turnout along US-89 north of Gardiner, Montana. From there, the representatives of the partner agencies will facilitate staging at the Cinnabar River Access just south of the Corwin Springs Bridge well in advance of the arrival of the riders and bison. The group must gather at the river access site prior to the arrival of the bison, and must stay until they are well past the site. From there, those interested may travel to one final photo op point at the Montana FWP Game Check Station along US-89.

A map showing the approximate site of the above locations is available upon request by calling 307-344-2015. Due to space and safety concerns, organizations participating in this photo op caravan are asked to limit themselves to one motor vehicle and no more than three passengers per vehicle.

Most of the corridor along which the group of bison will pass is bordered by posted private land. Safety concerns also preclude spectators from being allowed in the road right-of-way as the test group of bison pass.

The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Yellowstone Releases Bison From Stephens Creek
January 28, 2011 08:11AM
A group of 62 bison that had been temporarily held in the Stephens Creek capture facility inside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park was released Thursday afternoon and moved south further into the park.

The bison were among 88 captured in the facility northwest of Gardiner, Montana in early January. Most had been captured in order to select an experimental group of 25 seronegative bison which was released at the north end of the Gardiner Basin on January 19. During the selection process, care was taken to ensure young bison calves were not separated from their mothers.

Forty of the bison released back into the park Thursday had been tested for exposure to brucellosis. Of that group of 40, 19 tested positive and 21 tested negative for exposure to brucellosis. Twenty-two bison that had been held at Stephens Creek were not tested for exposure to brucellosis. One bison cow held in Stephens Creek which was found injured was euthanized on January 12.

With Thursday’s release, the Stephens Creek facility is free of bison.

Snowpack levels along Yellowstone’s northern range are about 30-percent above average for this time of year. Like elk and other ungulates, bison migrate during the winter to lower elevations looking for areas with less snow, where it may be easier to find food.

Park managers believe that if snow continues to accumulate at the current rate, some or all of the bison released Thursday, as well as additional groups of bison that migrate into the Gardiner Basin, could move across the northern boundary of Yellowstone onto public and private land in Montana.

Under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), the National Park Service is responsible for keeping bison from leaving the park boundary at Reese Creek until the State of Montana decides whether the Zone 2 experiment is deemed successful enough to allow for increased tolerance of bison north of the park and west of the Yellowstone River in the Gardiner Basin. There are no restrictions or limits on the number of bison that migrate to the Eagle Creek area north of Gardiner, Montana.

Under the IBMP, when hazing bison back into the park becomes unsafe or ineffective, bison can be captured at the Stephens Creek capture facility. Bison that are not being held for spring release back into the park could be shipped to slaughter. If that occurs, the meat from the slaughtered bison is distributed to regional food banks and tribal groups. No bison have been shipped to slaughter during the winter of 2010-2011.

Yellowstone National Park continues to work with the IBMP partners to seek places where bison from the northern and central herds may be relocated outside of the park when captured.

Since 2000, Yellowstone has cooperated with its state, federal, and tribal partners under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status.

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. More information on the IBMP can be found at http://ibmp.info/.
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