BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Billionaire Ted Turner’s bid to get 74 wild bison from Yellowstone National Park is drawing stiff opposition from those who say the animals are being given up for private profit instead of conservation.
Turner is offering to take the bison at the request of Montana’s Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer after state officials warned that the animals could soon be slaughtered.
The media mogul would keep the bison for five years and then return them to the state. As compensation, Turner would keep 90 percent of the animals’ offspring, meaning he would gain an estimated 190 bison from a herd prized for its genetic purity.
Several conservation groups argue Yellowstone’s bison should not be commercialized and belong on public or tribal lands.
Federal officials say the slaughter of the animals is not imminent and that they could remain in a government quarantine if necessary.