Video: Conserving Wild Bison

Since wild bison compete with humans for habitat, it is necessary to "manage" this "wildlife." This video, discusses the problems with bison management.
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Yellowstone bison grazing in valley. Photo by Ken Kistler

Yellowstone bison grazing in Hayden Valley

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?

Video: Silencing the Thunder shows many sides of the story

Silencing the Thunder from Forest Clay Productions on Vimeo.

Shorter version of "Silencing the Thunder" on YouTube


Bison herd in Yellowstone

Culling the Last Wild Herd of Bison in Yellowstone National Park

These bison stem from an original population of 25 that survived mass killings. Yet, for the past 17 years, they have been sent to the slaughterhouse.

Bison on the road to Mammoth Hot Springs

Is it okay to drive along side bison on the road in Yellowstone?

Our city slicker impulses may be to beep the horn if one bison decides to hold everyone up. Here's what you should do.

Yellowstone bison in the snow

Bison Migrate to Lower Ground for Winter Grazing

During the winter season, buffalo head to lower ground in the North area of Yellowstone. Watch the video below to see how bison shovel snow with their heads to reveal grass underneath.

This 1894 photo of Yellowstone soldiers posing with bison killed by a poacher led to national public outcry and spurred Congress to give the Army the power to prosecute park violators. Photo by NPS

The Photo that Saved the Bison in Yellowstone

A 1894 photo of Yellowstone soldiers posing with bison killed by a poacher led to national public outcry and spurred Congress.

Bison along Rose Creek in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Bison (Buffalo) FAQs

These large mammals are abundant in the park, stand 6 feet tall, and weigh over half a ton. There are typically 4,000-5,000 bison in Yellowstone.

A woman watching a bison from a safe distance in Yellowstone

How close can I get to wild animals in Yellowstone?

Stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from other large mammals like bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes.


Wild Animal Tracking in Yellowstone

Dr. James Halfpenny, famous mammal tracker, instructor and author in Yellowstone National Park, says reading animal tracks is like a detective game

Pryor Mountain Wild Horses

4 Places to See Wild Horses Near Yellowstone

Wild horses roam the desert south of Yellowstone. Prior Mountain wild horses run near Billings, Montana & descendants of Buffalo Bill's horses are east of Cody.

Bighorn sheep in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Wild Bighorn Sheep in Yellowstone

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep occupy rough, high terrain in Yellowstone country.