"BILLINGS, Mont. — Large numbers of migrating Yellowstone National Park bison are likely to face slaughter for at least the next couple of winters as officials weigh changes to a 15-year-old agreement that drives the practice, the park's superintendent said.
Most of the bison removed from America's first national park are captured and sent to slaughter over concerns they may transmit the disease brucellosis to Montana livestock.
Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said he's hopeful the slaughters eventually will be phased out and replaced by hunting. However, that's not feasible in the short term with a near-record population of about 4,900 park bison, Wenk told The Associated Press.
The park has agreed to reduce bison numbers as a way to minimize conflicts with landowners in Montana. It plans to cull 600 to 900 of the animals this winter using a combination of hunting and shipments to slaughter.
"Under current population numbers, we will have to capture and ship bison to slaughter," Wenk said. "That's just the world we're living in today. It might not be the world we're living in three years from now.""