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Yellowstone's bison herd increases to about 4,320

Aug 9, 2012 - The Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Yellowstone National Park administrators say the park's bison population is up to an estimated 4,230 animals, including 600 calves born this year.

After a relatively mild winter, the park's two herds increased in size by a combined 14 percent over last year's count. Park officials said Wednesday that the change was within the range of expectations for the wild animals.

The peak bison population was seen in 2005, when about 5,000 were recorded.

During harsh winters, bison attempting to migrate outside the park often have been captured and killed to prevent the possibility of them spreading disease to cattle.

A pending proposal from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks would ease restrictions and allow them to roam free year-round to the north and west of the park.

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