Thursday, January 10, 2013

Beware the bison: Montana judge upholds their freedom to roam beyond Yellowstone park

Montana's decision to allow migrating bison to from freely across 70,000 acres near Yellowstone National Park was upheld by a court ruling Monday that dismissed two lawsuits challenging the policy, The Associated Press reports. (Wikipedia photo)

Thousands of bison migrate out of Yellowstone during severe winters, and were subject to mass slaughter because of fear they would transmit brucellosis to livestock. Gov. Brian Schweitzer banned those killings two years ago. But when hundreds of bison returned to Gardiner Basin outside the park, local officials said they threatened safety and destroyed property.

In the ruling allowing the migration outside Yellowstone's borders, state Judge E. Wayne Phillips acknowledged challenges, but said those were unavoidable consequences of living in Montana. He wrote that state officials "do not have a statutory duty to ensure that no harm is incurred by a Montana resident by a wild animal." (Read more)

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