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Yellowstone bison: Why don’t you allow native predators to control bison numbers?

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From the National Park Service

Why don’t you allow native predators to control bison numbers?

  • Yellowstone National Park supports an abundant and diverse association of large predators, including black bears, coyotes, grizzly bears, mountain lions, and wolves. These predators occasionally kill bison, but primarily feed on elk even though winter abundance in Yellowstone has decreased about 75% since wolves were restored in 1995. As a result, predation has had a minor influence on bison population dynamics.
  • Bison are massive and often defend against wolves as a group, which makes them more difficult to attack than smaller elk that often run when attacked. As a result, wolves in Yellowstone National Park prefer elk and only tend to kill significant numbers of bison during winters with deep and prolonged snow pack that make malnourished animals more abundant and susceptible. Thus, it is unlikely predators will begin to regulate bison numbers to much lower densities in the near future.

 

 

 

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