Bison on the National Bison Range in Montana (Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Flickr)
Officials at Yellowstone National Park are seeking public comment on a proposal to restore wild bison to large portions of the West, according to The Guardian. The comment period is set to end in September.
A report from the U.S. Department of the Interior found the animals could be reintroduced to public lands it manages in states throughout the Southwest. But ranchers who rely on those federal lands for cattle grazing aren’t likely to be on board with the proposal.
Concerns about brucellosis, an infection causing stillbirths in cattle that can be transferred to bison, may also stall the effort. Private landowners say bison could trample fences and large herds could alter landscapes. Still, reintroducing the animal would be a conservation milestone, experts say, as bison once roamed the Great Plains in the millions.
Image: Bison on the National Bison Range in Montana (Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Flickr)