Yellowstone late winter estimate shows 3,000 Bison
by Yellowstone National Park
March 21, 2010
Yellowstone National Park recently completed a late winter bison population abundance estimate.
The population is estimated at 3,000 bison.
The aerial survey was difficult to conduct this year, due to low snowpack and the resulting bare patches of ground. These conditions are likely to have resulted in an underestimate of the population by as much as ten percent.
Fifty-six percent of the bison are in the Northern Range herd, with forty-four percent in the Central Interior herd.
Last year’s late winter population estimate was 2,900 bison.
State licensed and tribal hunters removed four bison from the population this year. No other bison have been captured or shipped to slaughter, or otherwise removed from the population this winter.
This population estimate is used to inform adaptive management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). Specific management actions may be modified based on expected late winter population levels, as corroborated by the summer population estimate.
The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status.
The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.