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Park bison count rises to about 4,600

Aug 29, 2013 - The Associated Press

(AP) -- Yellowstone National Park's bison population has grown by almost 9 percent since last year to 4,600 animals, according to a recently completed aerial survey.

The bison are broken down into two main groups, the northern herd with about 3,200 bison and the central herd composed of about 1,400 bison. There were about 700 calves-of-the-year observed in a June aerial survey.

The herd is still below the peak population estimate of 5,000 bison recorded in 2005.

This population estimate is used to inform adaptive management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while minimizing the risk of brucellosis transmission between bison and cattle when the bison wander outside of the park's boundaries in winter.

The larger the bison herds, the more likely the animals are to migrate out of the park in winter. When the animals wander into Montana they are available to licensed hunters as well as some American Indian tribes that exercise their historical treaty hunting rights.

Yellowstone National Park's bison population has grown by almost 9 percent since last year to 4,600 animals, according to a recently completed aerial survey.

The bison are broken down into two main groups, the northern herd with about 3,200 bison and the central herd composed of about 1,400 bison. There were about 700 calves-of-the-year observed in a June aerial survey.

The herd is still below the peak population estimate of 5,000 bison recorded in 2005.

This population estimate is used to inform adaptive management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while minimizing the risk of brucellosis transmission between bison and cattle when the bison wander outside of the park's boundaries in winter.

The larger the bison herds, the more likely the animals are to migrate out of the park in winter. When the animals wander into Montana they are available to licensed hunters as well as some American Indian tribes that exercise their historical treaty hunting rights.

The National Park Service reports that hunting and poaching of bison in the late 1800s substantially reduced the number of bison in the Yellowstone herd, and by 1901, only 25 bison were counted.

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