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Yellowstone Closes Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility

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avatar Yellowstone Closes Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility
May 26, 2011 12:47PM
All bison which had been temporarily held in fenced pastures at the Stephens Creek facility north of Gardiner, Montana, have been released back into Yellowstone National Park.

Some of the nearly 700 bison which were released had been held in the Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility since the beginning of February.

Release of small groups of bison began the first week in May, to see if they would migrate back in to the park. During the time period that bison have been released from the holding facilities, the number of free roaming bison in the Gardiner Basin has fluctuated between 200 and 300. These bison have been observed moving both east and south as they migrate back to interior ranges.

A group of 58 bison plus several newborn calves were released from the Brogan Bison Facility in Corwin Springs, Montana, and were moved back into the park on Tuesday.

Fifty-three yearling through four-year-old bison remain in the Corwin Springs facility as a part of a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service initiated research project to determine whether brucellosis positive female bison can be prevented from shedding Brucella bacteria by treating them with a contraceptive vaccine.

The study requires a total of 80 to 100 bison, including some bison testing seronegative and some testing seropositive for brucellosis. At the end of the 7-year study, these bison will not be returned to the park. All bison that remain seronegative during the course of this study will be consigned to conservation programs or tribal restoration projects. Seropositive bison from this study may be consigned to slaughter at the conclusion of the research.

No bison have been shipped to slaughter from the north boundary during the winter of 2010-2011.

The area closure from Gardiner north to Reese Creek will remain in effect until park managers are confident that the released bison will continue to move south into the park.

The National Park Service operates the Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility northwest of Gardiner, Montana, under the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The Brogan Bison Facility at Corwin Springs, Montana, is operated by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Since 2000, Yellowstone has cooperated with its state, federal, and tribal partners under the IBMP to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status. More information on the IBMP can be found at http://ibmp.info/.
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