Yellowstone National Park officials say they're planning to slaughter between 300 and 600 bison. The animals are set to be trucked to slaughterhouses, where the processed meat, hides and heads will be distributed to Native American tribes.
This morning's Missoulian reports that Yellowstone's bison population was estimated at 4,600 this past summer—close to the park's peak of 5,000, which was recorded in 2005. It was estimated that one herd of about 3,200 was in the north and another herd of 1,400 was in the park's central region, which migrates out of the park near West Yellowstone along the Madison River.
"What historically has prompted movement is a weather change that makes accessing forage below the snow more difficult," Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash told the Missoulian, adding that the park has agreements with tribal entities to take some of the park's bison, dependent on the animals' migration.
The Missoulian reports that Yellowstone is required to keep the bison population at somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 animals.