Montana Public Radio

livestock

Cow bison with a newly born calf in Yellowstone National Park
Neal Herbert - Yellowstone National Park (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park might tolerate thousands more bison by 2017, or perhaps hundreds fewer. State and federal wildlife managers are developing a new Yellowstone bison management plan and several options are on the table.

Catherine Cain

A state veterinarian says that a strain of bird flu found in a captive falcon in Columbia Falls has the potential to significantly impact poultry farmers in the state. So far, this is the only case of the H5N2 bird flu strain in Montana.

Ranchers who lose livestock to mountain lion attacks would get compensation from the state of Montana under a bill the Senate approved Friday. The state already pays ranchers who lose animals to wolves and grizzly bears. Hamilton Republican Pat Connell says mountain lions are a scourge for Montana’s ranchers.

Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2.0)

Regional sheep producers are concerned that fears about their herds transmitting disease to wild bighorn sheep might jeopardize their livelihood.

Last spring, the Forest Service banned domestic sheep grazing on about 70 percent of the Payette National Forest in West Central Idaho to prevent domestic sheep from infecting bighorns.

"We feel it's just a way for environmental groups to try to try and remove livestock from public grounds."

Yellowstone bison often leave the confines of the park in the winter for lower elevations in Montana.
Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park has started capturing bison near the park's north entrance and bison advocates have sued to stop it.

Disease management and carrying capacity are at the center of the operation.

Park spokesman Al Nash says a total of 800 to 900 bison that migrate out of the park could be removed.

"We're doing so to be able to approach the target bison population and to see if we can reduce the potential for a mass-migration of bison into Montana where there is still some limited tolerance."

Wolves A Source Of Wonder, Controversy 20 Years After Reintroduction

Jan 13, 2015
Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the arrival of 8 wolves into Yellowstone National Park. That event marked the beginning of the recovery effort for the grey wolf, a species that had been absent from the Northern Rockies for more than 70 years.

Several of the former National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials in the recovery effort met Sunday and Monday to reflect on the effort and consider the future of the grey wolf.

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