Thursday, February 3, 2011

Conservation Groups Call For a Stop to Yellowstone Bison Slaughter

An American bison pair

Recently, conservation groups had received news about bison migrating up north into Montana from the famed Yellowstone National Park. But what hurt them was the idea to slaughter these shaggy beasts if they happen to wonder outside the park's boundaries. They have asked a Montana federal judge to put a stop to this impending slaughter. As of now, a request for a restraining order will prevent the National Park Service from transporting those animals to slaughter which test positive for brucellosis exposure. Also, officials are trying to figure out why hundreds of bison are moving up to private land outside Yellowstone. According to the park's spokesperson, Al Nash, the migration is a result of an unusually high snowpack in the park. Because of these conditions, hundreds of animals were forced to search for food on drier land.

This mass migration has raised concerns among locals, fearing the bison could spread brucellosis to cattle on private land. To prevent this problem, many were captured and are currently being held in a facility awaiting test results. It is said that those that test seropositive for the disease exposure will be taken to slaughter. However, wildlife advocates are appealing for the animals to be spared. One of the people in the front lines is Mark Pearson of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He stated that it is not the bisons' fault for migrating. It is simply their natural movement to shift from higher elevations to lower elevations, where there is less snow. In addition to that, there has not been a documented case of a wild bison transmitting the disease to a domestic cow.

I find that is amazing what the conservation groups did, regarding the lives of the bison as they attempted to migrate beyond Yellowstone's borders up north. The snowfall during these past months in the national park has forced the animals in search of drier land for a fresh graze. And it turns out to be in Montana's private land. I also agree with the idea of preventing the spread of brucellosis from bison to cattle. I think one possible solution to prevent this problem would be to first locate and study the bisons' migratory route, and see whether it cuts through any grazing land intended for cattle. If it does, then it would help to persuade the cattle owners to relocate their animals to other lands uninhabited or used by bison. Because even though the cattle would be at risk of brucellosis, the bison will also be prone to transmission of some disease from their domestic cousins.

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