Press Release Jun 6, 2024

Yellowstone Park Advocates Celebrate an Important Step Forward for Yellowstone Bison

A 2023 national poll released by NPCA found that 91% of Americans support restoring healthy bison herds in Yellowstone and other national parks.   

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Park Service released a plan to guide the management of Yellowstone bison within park boundaries for the next generation. The plan integrates extensive public input, the best available science and ensures the agency can adapt and adjust the plan to changing conditions, ensuring the best path forward for America’s national mammal.

For decades, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has worked with state and federal agencies, conservation, community, and Tribal partners to conserve Yellowstone bison. A 2023 national poll released by NPCA found that 91% of Americans (88% of Republicans and 92% of Democrats) support restoring healthy bison herds in Yellowstone and other national parks.

The iconic North American bison were purposefully brought to the brink of extinction during European expansion into the western portion of North American in 1800s. In the United States only a small remnant of the 30 million that once roamed the continent survived within the newly established Yellowstone National Park. After over a century of work, bison now thrive within the borders of Yellowstone. It is a story of hope, dedication and the resilience of our wildlife and our national parks. The plan released today is another step in the right direction, but the management of Yellowstone bison is hampered by opposition from the State of Montana.

Statement by Michelle Uberuaga, Senior Yellowstone Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA):

“The new bison management plan is an important next step as we work together to make sure Yellowstone bison continue to thrive with the Greater Yellowstone area, Tribal lands and other areas. We applaud the Park’s commitment to expanding Tribal cultural herds and will continue to work to ensure bison are managed in the same manner as other wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—including ending the annual “ship to slaughter” program. The plan is grounded in the best available science and commits to flexible management strategies that will allow bison to thrive within Yellowstone.

“The Park Service and partners must manage America’s national mammal like other valued wildlife, which includes protecting its seasonal migration in and out of the park. Decades of experience have shown that managers can treat bison like other wildlife while also safeguarding regional livestock. The final plan reflects these advancements and supports continuing such programs.

“Paving the future for Yellowstone bison has been a battle of inches over the years, and there is still more work to do. Despite broad support by Americans for restoring healthy Yellowstone bison herds, progress areas such as expanding tolerance areas for the animals outside of park boundaries remain stalled or blocked by State of Montana politics. Cooperation between the Park Service, State of Montana, Tribes, and communities is critical in reaching consensus around conservation of this American icon.”

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