Have You Herd?
Wildlife organizations this week are trying to increase pressure on the Clinton administration to stop killing bison that leave Yellowstone National Park in the winter in search of food. Monday is the deadline for public comment on the administration’s environmental impact statement on bison management in and around the park, and the National Wildlife Federation, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and other groups contend that the entire herd, the last remaining relatives of wild buffalo, could be slaughtered under the government’s latest plan. Ranchers and the state of Wyoming have pressured the feds to kill all bison that leave the park for fear that bison infected with brucellosis could transmit the disease to cattle. Although there is little or no evidence that brucellosis has ever been spread from bison to cattle, the feds four years ago shot or shipped to slaughter 1,100 bison, about a third of the Yellowstone herd. Conservationists say the current administration plan wouldn’t guarantee protections, not even on public land just outside Yellowstone’s boundaries.