The controversial culling plan for Yellowstone bison ended this past week when officials met the lower end of their goal.
While park officials hoped to remove 600 Yellowstone bison this year, they closed the plan after 550 were removed from the park. The number could rise when an official final count number is released, but their estimates put them between the lower end of their goal and the aimed-for number.
While the bison culling seemed to be more controversial this year than those past as, according to the Billings Gazette, “bison managers cull the herd every year to comply with a plan created after the state of Montana sued the park over bison migration into the state.”
The set goal for bison in the park is around 3,000, which is about capacity for Yellowstone’s resources for bison migration. As of now, there are around 5,000 bison in the area, which means that they are beginning to branch out to find more suitable natural resources.
The culling plan, while a huge point of contention for animal rights groups, is actually necessary to maintain not only the national park itself, but also to ensure that the bison remain fed with room to roam.