There was a time when there were no wild bison. The last remnant animals were found in the backcountry of Yellowstone. Today, the Yellowstone bison remain as the only pure bison that have no livestock genes.
Even though Yellowstone covers 3,468 square miles, it’s not big enough to provide a home for wild bison herds above 3,000 in number. Yellowstone bison have recovered so well that the herds have totaled as many as 4,600 animals. Since wild bison compete with humans for habitat, it is necessary to “manage” this “wildlife.”
The video, Conserving Wild Bison discusses the unique problems associated with moving bison, hunting bison, and quarantining bison, some of which have a disease.
Related Story: Yellowstone’s Bison Management
Learn More in This 20-minute In-Depth Video About Bison Management
Rick Wallen is the bison project leader for Yellowstone National Park. In this Q&A series, Rick answers a range of questions about the challenges of bison conservation and the park’s management goals (in the following order):
1. Why do bison leave the park, and why is that a problem?
2. What is brucellosis?
3. Why are elk managed differently than bison?
4. Is tolerance for bison outside Yellowstone improving?
5. Is doing nothing an option?
6. Are there alternatives to killing bison?
7. Describe the capture/shipment process.
8. Has this process changed over the years?
9. What happens to bison that are shipped out of the park?