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Yellowstone National Park Searching For Those Who Freed Bison From Pens


More than 50 Yellowstone National Park bison that were being held for possible transfer to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation were illegally freed by someone, according to park officials, who on Wednesday launched a criminal investigation.

The 52 bison were discovered missing Tuesday morning. They were being held at the park's Stephens Creek facility for possible quarantine. Park staff were trying to locate the animals Wednesday.

The missing bull bison were being held in two separate pens. A group of 24 animals had been in confinement since March 2016, and the other group of 28 animals since March 2017. The animals were being held and tested for brucellosis at Stephens Creek as part of a plan being considered to establish a quarantine program at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in central Montana.

The purpose of that program would be to augment or establish new conservation and cultural herds of disease-free plains bison, enhance cultural and nutritional opportunities for Native Americans, reduce the shipment of Yellowstone bison to meat processing facilities, and conserve a viable, wild population of Yellowstone bison.

“This is an egregious criminal act that sets back bison conservation. It delays critical ongoing discussions about a quarantine program and the transfer of live Yellowstone bison to tribal lands. The park is aggressively investigating this incident,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk.   

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, "(T)he criminals who broke into a national park facility to release these bison put at risk the safety of the animals that are now at risk of being culled and of our park rangers who are rounding them up. I will be working with (Agriculture) Secretary (Sonny) Perdue to see if we can get back on track to transfer the brucellosis-free bulls to the tribe this year."

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the Yellowstone National Park Tip Line at 307-344-2132 or email [email protected]. For more information, visit


Sounds like the all-too-common overreach of well-intentioned zealots. Start your investigation with a call to PETA or the Sierra Club. 

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