Officials To Slaughter, Shoot Or Relocate Up To 900 Bison At Yellowstone National Park

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Taylor Penley Contributor
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As many as 900 bison at Yellowstone National Park are set to be slaughtered, shot or relocated due to overgrazing concerns caused by a recent population boom.

Park officials and tribal entities reached a deal Wednesday to curb the park’s bison population by allowing them to be shot by hunters, taken to be slaughtered, or quarantined during the winter months, according to The Associated Press.

Yellowstone’s bison typically migrate North into Montana each winter. These animals could potentially spread brucellosis, an abortion or stillbirth-inducing bacterial disease, to cattle in the region, according to the AP. There have not been any recent reported cases of bison transmitting the disease in the wild as of early December.

Approximately 5,450 bison reside in Yellowstone National Park. Officials claim reducing the population by 600 to 900 would help temporarily stabilize the population and prevent mass starvation of other animals in the region, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: Overcrowded Wild Mustangs Are Starving To Death By The Hundreds).

“Doing nothing is not a realistic option,” the National Park Service wrote on its website. “Allowing the bison population to grow indefinitely will cause overgrazing and possibly mass starvation of animals in Yellowstone, as well as larger migrations and greater conflict outside the park.”

The National Park Service’s website also addresses concerns of brucellosis among the creatures, mentioning that up to “60 percent of Yellowstone bison test positive for exposure to brucellosis.”

The decision to shoot or slaughter an animal that faced threats of extinction just over 100 years ago is now receiving criticism from those who believe relocation plans are a feasible option.