By Matt Volz
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HELENA, Mont.- Yellowstone National Park officials are launching a new bison quarantine program aimed at establishing new, disease-free herds on public and tribal lands.
Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin says the program will help conservation and reduce the number of bison shipped to slaughter because of overpopulation in the park.
National Park Service officials green-lighted the program Tuesday that will test captured bison for the disease brucellosis, which causes animals to abort their young.
The testing will be conducted in Yellowstone and on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana.
When the bison are determined to be disease-free, they will be released on “suitable public and tribal lands,” according to the decision.
Warthin says there are 87 bison being held in Yellowstone facilities that would be tested in the program’s first phase.