Yellowstone looking to start new bison quarantine program

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HELENA, Mont. (KGWN) - 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 concerns about the spread of disease and overpopulation in the park.

National Park Service officials green-lighted the program 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 91 bison in Yellowstone facilities that would be tested in the program's first phase.