Hunters take aim at a symbol of the American West today, as Wyoming’s National Elk Refuge opens the first buffalo season in almost a decade. Officials say they need to lower the population from 1,200 to 500 because of overgrazing and disease. But killing the once-endangered species has animal groups and locals up in arms, Reuters reports.
Upscale residents fear that the plan will scare away wildlife-loving tourists. Animal rights activists also decry the hunting: “Hunting these bison is like hunting parked cars,” says a Humane Society rep. Officials argue that they love the buffalo but have to make unpopular choices; recent fires and droughts are forcing species to compete for dwindling food sources.