Yellowstone considers quarantine program for bison

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park is seeking public comment on a proposal to capture and quarantine wild bison before relocating disease-free animals to create new herds.

Wednesday's announcement comes after the Department of Interior last month identified public lands in 10 states that could be suitable for relocated Yellowstone bison.

Public meetings on the quarantine proposal are scheduled for Aug. 18 in Gardiner and Aug. 19 in Bozeman.

Yellowstone's roughly 4,600 bison are prized for their pure genetics. But many carry the disease brucellosis, which can cause pregnant livestock to prematurely abort their young.

A pilot quarantine program that began in 2005 has had mixed success. Efforts to relocate about 200 bison that were declared disease-free have been opposed by Montana ranchers worried the animals could compete with cattle for grazing space.

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