Will new Yellowstone wolves kill bison?

2/5/96.

The bison herds of Yellowstone have growing
and becoming more controversial by the year.

Increasingly, the migrate out of the Park in
the winter where they damage some property
and worry livestock owners that they might
infect their cattle with brucellosis, a
disease the bison originally acquired from
cattle. The disease does not seem to sicken
the bison, but in theory the bison could
transmit it back to the cattle and jeapordize
Montana's brucellosis-free designation.

In cattle the disease leads to miscarriage.

Many, but not all, biologists believe
Yellowstone National Park is overgrazed by
too many bison and elk.

The three wolf packs from 1995 demonstrated
well that they could kill elk, moose, deer,
bighorn sheep, and mountain goats; but it
was mostly elk they killed. As far as I
know, there were no confirmed bison-kills.

It is hoped that this year, with the new pack
in the Nez Perce Creek pen, things will be
different.

This pack, the Half-way Pack (I don't know if
it will be renamed the "Nez Perce" pack) was
captured in British Columbia while feeding on
a bison it had killed.

The Nez Perce Creek acclimation pen is located
in the part of Yellowstone Park with the largest
concentration of bison. It is on Nez Perce Cr.,
about eight miles north of Old Faithful and
about two miles from the Firehole River and the
Lower Geyser Basin.

The ideal outcome would be that the wolves would
range over the western side of the Park eating
elk and bison. The previous wolf releases were
in the NE part of Yellowstone.

There is the possibility, however, that they
will migrate, possibly south toward Jackson Hole
(plenty of elk and moose there) or to Eastern
Idaho (elk, deer, and cattle).

I recall at the 1993 Idaho Falls hearing on
wolf reintroduction, a wolf opponent said the
wolves would show up at the National Elk Refuge
just outside of the town of Jackson, and people
would be able to sit in restaurants see wolves
pull down elk.

This is possible. I hope I don't need a
reservation.




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Ralph Maughan
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