WYOMING – As bison capture and shipping operations began last week at Stephens Creek Facility in northern Yellowstone NP, saboteurs again struck, dismantling fencing and releasing some 73 of the 96 bison that were being held there.
Sometime between 9pm on February 21 and 6am, February 22, unknown individuals intentionally compromised the fences at Stephens Creek releasing bison being held in the pens. According to Yellowstone officials, most of the bison remained in the immediate area, and many even returned to the pen via the same illegal fence openings over the course of the morning.
Park staff was able to repair the fence and re-secured the facility by midday. The 96 bison captured this past week had not yet been processed or tested for brucellosis. Some would have been held for possible quarantine, while others would have been transferred to Native American tribes and shipped to slaughter.
The National Park Service has initiated a new criminal investigation for this incident. The park is reviewing security measures at the facility and will make improvements immediately.
“This act of sabotage, along with the incident that occurred on January 16, is a setback for bison conservation,” said park superintendent Dan Wenk. “Creating a successful quarantine program will allow the transfer of live animals to tribes to develop conservation herds on tribal lands. The saboteurs are only ensuring more bison will be shipped to slaughter.”