Hundreds of Yellowstone's Bison May Be Slaughtered
And a $3.3M habitat-expansion program looks doomed
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 4, 2011 7:31 AM CST
This image provided by the Buffalo Field Campaign shows riders from Yellowstone National Park and the Montana Department of Livestock driving bison across a road near Yellowstone National Park.   (AP Photo/Buffalo Field Campaign)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Yellowstone National Park's iconic bison herds are suffering their worst winter in several years, with almost 400 of the animals being held for possible slaughter—as an effort to expand their habitat seems poised to fail, the AP reports. Some 368 bison have been captured and placed in government corrals after they attempted to leave the snowy park in search of food; there, they're tested for the disease brucellosis as part of a controversial program intended to stop the spread of the disease to livestock.

As of yesterday, 53 animals had tested positive for brucellosis and will be shipped to slaughter; 108 were negative, though the AP notes there is no guarantee they will be released. Wildlife advocates have asked a federal judge for a restraining order that would halt the impending slaughter. Meanwhile, a $3.3 million dollar initiative intended to expand their territory has all but failed. Some 25 bison were brought to a national forest outside the park where they’d been banned—but they didn't stay long; 23 were captured and sent back to Yellowstone or went back themselves, and one was shot.