BILLINGS, Mont. – Yellowstone National Park has transferred 20 bison to a Montana Indian tribe for slaughter under a plan to drastically reduce the size of the largest, genetically pure bison population in the U.S.
Wednesday's initial transfer was disclosed by a wildlife advocacy group and confirmed by a park spokesman. Five more captured bison are to be turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for use in an animal contraception program.
Yellowstone administrators plan to slaughter up to 600 bison this winter if deep snow spurs a large migration of the animals to lower elevations in Montana. It's part of a multi-year plan to reduce the population from 4,600 animals to about 3,000.
Montana's livestock industry has little tolerance for bison due to concerns over disease and competition with cattle for grass.