Grand Canyon does not seek volunteers to kill Bison this fall


Flagstaff, Arizona (AP) — A herd of bison that lives almost exclusively at the northern end of the Grand Canyon National Park will not be subject to deadly removal there this fall.

The park is part of a toolset to reduce herds trampling on Norslim pastures and ruins in the canyon, using skilled volunteers selected in a highly competitive and controversial lottery last year. I killed Bison.

Introducing gunshots and placing people near Bison was aimed at returning giant animals to an adjacent forest where they could be legally hunted. However, that effort had little effect.

“They just moved a little from where the activity took place and sometimes came back the next day,” said Greg Holm, Grand Canyon Wildfire Program Manager.

According to a new study, the herd is approaching its target of about 200, down from an estimated 500 to 800 when the park approves a plan to quickly reduce the size of the herd. The park is currently working with other agencies and groups on a long-term plan to manage the bison. Bison was declared an American National Mammal in 2016 and is depicted on the National Park Service logo.

Hunting and genetic bottlenecks for hundreds of years have once extinct tens of millions of animals in the United States, including about 11,000 bison in about 12 states, including the largest herd on public land in Yellowstone National Park. Supports. ..

Yellowstone, which spans 3,500 square miles in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is also developing a new management plan for approximately 5,500 bison. We are working with Native American tribes, state agencies, and other groups to find ways to reduce the number of bison sent to slaughter.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota regularly rounds up bison using helicopters and enclosures, moving some animals to tribes, other states, and national parks. Without natural predators, the bison herd can grow rapidly and strain resources, Park says.

Herds of the Grand Canyon did not always live within the boundaries of the park, which can be seen along the highway leading to the entrance to the North Rim. Bisons are descendants of those brought to Arizona in the 1900s as part of a mating experiment with cattle.

Animals increasingly realized that they could hunt in the adjacent national forests and tried to evacuate to national parks. Hunting in national parks is not permitted, but you have the authority to use national park staff and volunteers to kill animals that are harmful to resources.

Most of the Bisons in the Grand Canyon were removed by enclosing them and transferring them to Native American tribes who were trying to rebuild their herds on their land. In the controversial pilot project last fall, skilled volunteers shot up to 12 animals.

Over 45,000 people have applied for this opportunity. In the end, 10 were selected and 4 bison could be killed. Animals are huge, but fast and agile, and can hide in thick forests of trees.

Grand Canyon officials have said they will not repeat the program this fall, but they will not be excluded as a tool in the future. Another enclosure work is planned.

According to the Grand Canyon National Park, the latest estimates of bison populations based on aerial surveys and tracking equipment indicate that the vast Kaibab Plateau is home to 216 bison. Institutions that manage land and wildlife in northern Arizona and study bison movements meet in July to begin talking about long-term plans.

Part of that debate would include creating a further gap in the state-approved bison hunting season outside the Grand Canyon National Park to see if the bison moves out of the border. Larry Phoenix, Regional Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Division, said.

Meanwhile, the Game and Fish division is seeking approval to improve fences, cattle guards, and water bodies to expand the range of another bison herd in northern Arizona. The state imported 15 bison yearlings from Montana’s privately owned nature reserve in late 2017, saying the herd needs more room to grow.

Phoenix is ​​convinced that these bison will not chase the other bison into the Grand Canyon, mainly because the animals are unaware of the existence of other herds.

Environmental groups are skeptical and can prevent them from getting lost or being added to the entire bison population in areas that are difficult and costly to monitor.

They are asking the US Forest Department to conduct a detailed review of proposals that take into account climate change and its impact on flora and fauna such as flea teeth kangaroos.