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Published June 09, 2010, 08:23 AM

Wild bison pushed deeper into Yellowstone park

BILLINGS, Mont. — Yellowstone National Park rangers herded a group of bison that spent the spring in Montana back into the park Tuesday to make way for cattle being brought onto area ranches.

BILLINGS, Mont. — Yellowstone National Park rangers herded a group of bison that spent the spring in Montana back into the park Tuesday to make way for cattle being brought onto area ranches.

Officials said the push to haze about 45 bison to a point roughly 14 miles into the park would hopefully end a monthlong effort to remove hundreds of the animals from Montana.

The animals are barred from the state for much of the year under an agreement with federal agencies meant to guard against the transmission of disease.

Park spokesman Al Nash said only one cow and its calf remained outside the park by late Tuesday. Montana Department of Livestock personnel also participated in the hazing, which conservation groups say are unnecessary.

Hundreds of bison leave Yellowstone every spring to search for food at lower elevations. Many carry the disease brucellosis, which can cause animals, including cattle, to lose their young.

A wild bison-to-cattle transmission of the disease has never been recorded.

Nevertheless, bison that wander outside the park are subject to being hazed, slaughtered or shot. Only a handful has been killed this year. More than 1,600 died two winters ago.

Over the last several years, Montana livestock agents have allowed bison to linger in more areas around the town of West Yellowstone, despite opposition from the livestock industry.

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