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Peregrine perched on pine cone

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Buffaloed up at Yellowstone


There is going to be a new head dude at Yellowstone. Superintendent Dan Wenk said he is being forced out in a punitive action because he isn't in favor of killing as many bison as Zinke and the local rancher neighbors would like him to.
Park biologists contend the population of more than 4,000 bison is sustainable. But Zinke and his staff have said the number is too high, Wenk said, and raised concerns that Yellowstone's scenic Lamar Valley is being damaged by overgrazing.
Zinke, a former Montana congressman, has paid close attention to projects back home, stirring speculation that he has future political ambitions in the state.
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift declined to comment directly on Wenk's assertions or the issue of bison management. She referred the AP to a previously issued statement saying President Donald Trump had ordered a reorganization of the federal government and that Zinke "has been absolutely out front on that issue."
Wenk said he had multiple conversations with Zinke and his staff about bison, most recently this week.
"We're not a livestock operation. We're managing a national park with natural systems," he said. "We do not believe the bison population level is too high or that any scientific studies would substantiate that."
Wenk has four decades with the Park Service and has spent the last seven at Yellowstone. Going to have to retire a little early now. They've had some administrative problems up there with harassment but Wenk seemed to do a pretty good job all in all.

By the way, there isn't a single case of a wild buffalo ever transmitting brucellosis to cattle. More about the bison mythology here. Like with most things in this administration, science be damned!

Mrs. Sommers always keeps a safe and responsible distance from wild animals.

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