And if that's not good enough some of the team that officially manages the Yellowstone bison say it's time to begin hunts within the park itself.
This week a few bison that wandered out of the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and were penned then carted away. The twenty bison sent to slaughter are the first of the potential 800 targeted for culling this year. The Park Service wants to reduce the current 4,400 animals down to around 3,000 to 3,500.
The animals are slaughtered by Native American Tribes under an agreement with the Park Service.
Bison in winter at Old Faithful; Richard Lake; 1970 NPS
Yellowstone is too high in elevation and when the snows get deep bison like to head out to lower range in Montana. Just north of the park everything has been cut up into ranchettes or national forest that isn't great for grazing anyway, further north there's great grass but it's already private ranches.
The advocacy group has the catchy name of Buffalo Field Campaign (not to be confused with Buffalo Springfield) and they are livid. So are the tour agencies who make lots of money off showing the critters to tourists. (one sixth less bison) Biologists rightly claim the Park is severely overgrazed.
Predators? Short faced bear and saber toothed all gone. As with most large wildlife, bison require human management, and for those who long for a romanticized yesteryear, management is antithesis to everything they believe in.
As one commenter said, the blame lies squarely on US immigration policy of the late 1800s, allowing all those immigrants from Europe to come over and homestead the prairies.
My thoughts? One more instance of reality intruding on a fantasy of wildlife on public lands. Buffalo Springfield evolved into CSN+Y, I'd hope Buffalo Field Campaign could likewise find a useful direction for their energies. Maybe restoring the Northern Yellowstone Elk herd which has declined over 80%.
A really good FAQ by the Park Service The tone is much more realistic than I'm used to.
Angst by one of the board members of the Buffalo Field Campaign who posts at the radical anti hunting Wildlife News gathering place for nuts not of the pine variety. Ken Cole was an unmerry old soul,