Second act of sabotage releases 73 bison from Stephens Creek facility
Yellowstone Nat’l Park – Sometime between 9 p.m. February 21 and 6 a.m. February 22, unknown individuals intentionally compromised the fences at Stephens Creek releasing approximately 73 of the 96 bison that were inside the pen. The National Park Service has initiated a new criminal investigation for this incident.
This new incident follows a previous act of sabotage, on January 16th, when 54 bison escaped when the fence was cut.
Many, if not all, of the bison remained in the immediate area. Most returned to the pen via the same illegal fence openings over the course of the morning. Park staff repaired the fence to re-secure the facility by mid-day. The park is reviewing security measures at the facility and will make improvements immediately.
The 96 bison captured this past week had not yet been processed or tested for brucellosis. Some would have been held for possible quarantine, while others would have been transferred to Native American tribes and shipped to slaughter.
“This act of sabotage, along with the incident that occurred on January 16, is a setback for bison conservation,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “Creating a successful quarantine program will allow the transfer of live animals to tribes to develop conservation herds on tribal lands. The saboteurs are only ensuring more bison will be shipped to slaughter.”
Operations at the Stephens Creek facility are taken in support of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) goal to reduce the population this winter. Partners are aiming to cull 600-900 animals through a combination of shipping and the public and tribal hunt.