Bison trap

Bison stand in a capture facility in Stephens Creek outside Yellowstone National Park last spring. The park won't delay trapping the animals this winter for shipment of some animals to slaughter.

ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ, Bozeman Chronicle

Yellowstone National Park biologists say more than 900 wild bison would need to be killed or removed this winter to begin reducing the size of herds that spill into neighboring Montana.

The park has an estimated 5,500 bison, the highest number since at least 2000.

Park officials will meet Thursday with state, tribal and U.S. Agriculture Department representatives to discuss options for managing the animals.

Biologists say 900 animals would need to be removed just to stabilize population growth.

Many Yellowstone bison carry brucellosis, a disease that can cause livestock to abort their young. Neighboring communities also have raised concerns about property damage and public safety from migrating bison.

Recent efforts to gradually reduce bison numbers have been largely unsuccessful and drawn criticism from wildlife advocates who want them to roam freely.

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