Hundreds of Bison Set for Destruction at Yellowstone

Herds of American bison live in Yellowstone National Park.  Hundreds are targeted for destruction as a way to protect others from disease.

Stephen Pribut, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Herds of American bison live in Yellowstone National Park. Hundreds are targeted for destruction as a way to protect others from disease.

In Yellowstone National Park in Montana, park officials are planning to kill several hundred bison or separate them from other bison in the area in order to stop the spread of disease. They will allow hunters to kill the Bison, and they will try to separate them from the main population. They will be doing this because these bison have a disease called brucellosis. This disease, when spread to cattle cause them to abort their claves. Yellowstone has around five thousand five hundred bison, so taking these 900 away are not expected to cause any major change in the population. Officials know there will be a slight decrease in numbers the winter, but they expect that the population size will bounce back in the spring.

The planned thinning of the heard is a very common way to do respond with diseased populations. Park officials assure the public that their plans will have  no serious risk towards the total animal population. Not many LCA students are aware of the issue with bison in Yellowstone, but they do agree with efforts to protect the entire population.  Junior Brad Davidson said, “this is probably a good thing to do for the bison population.” Max Rhoades, 11, agreed, saying, “This is probably the best thing to do for the bison.” Evan Morgan, 11, also liked the idea.

Bison are not the only animals known to spread the brucellosis disease. It can spread through farm animals such as sheep, pigs, cattle, and goats. Brucellosis can also spread through household animals like dogs. The disease is caused by bacteria and can be transmitted through open wounds, food, and breathing in bacteria. Humans can avoid contracting the illness by avoiding undercooked meat and using gloves when handling animal tissues. It can be treated in humans by using antibiotics. The symptoms in humans can be a fever, the sweats, anorexia, headache, and fatigue. There is not much worry about humans contracting this disease however, because transmission is not common.