Yellowstone National Park and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) will host a workshop Feb. 26-28 at Chico Hot Springs Resort in Pray, Montana, to examine the science behind the disease brucellosis and help improve the management of the Yellowstone bison population.
The panel hopes to provide conclusions and recommendations in a brief report at the close of the workshop regarding:
• The feasibility of significantly suppressing the disease in bison
• Potential impacts of suppression activities
• The likelihood that disease suppression will result in more tolerance for bison and help advance bison conservation
• Critical knowledge gaps and research priorities that could improve brucellosis management practices
The workshop is open for public observation and will begin at 8:00 a.m. each day. A public comment period will occur at the end of each day.
Bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have long been infected with brucellosis. The management of this disease has been a contentious public issue for decades. In 2000, the federal government and the State of Montana agreed to a bison management plan that established guidelines for cooperatively managing the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle. The resulting Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) emphasized conserving the bison population while protecting the livestock economy in Montana. To date, no documented transmission of brucellosis from Yellowstone bison to cattle has occurred, due in part to successful efforts by federal and state agencies to maintain separation between cattle and bison. However, previous management efforts have not resulted in a measurable decrease in brucellosis exposure or infection.
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