|Close call for Yellowstone bison
This year’s exceptionally harsh winter has forced hundreds of bison to wander outside the protected boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. While NWF has already secured winter habitat on the west side of Yellowstone River, this year the bison crossed over to the east side of the river in search of food. This is land where bison are not allowed to roam, due to fears that they will spread disease to cattle. As such, government agents captured the bison to test them for disease. It appeared that many would be killed, but Montana's governor intervened and issued an executive order that prevents the slaughter of these quarantined bison for 90 days. At that time, they can be safely released into the park, where sufficient forage should again be available.
But it's plain the problem hasn't been solved. These incidents underscore how critical it is to secure adequate winter range for bison outside of Yellowstone Park. In times of need, wildlife will continue to wander even outside the extended borders we’ve secured for them, which is why it’s critical that we continue working hard to expand the areas where they can freely roam without risk of conflict. NWF is currently working to secure winter range on the east side of the Yellowstone River so bison can roam freely without hazing and harassment.