Yellowstone National Park spokeswoman says officials in recent days considered sending up to 100 bull bison to slaughter but now plan to spare the animals.
Spokeswoman Linda Miller said park administrators decided Thursday that slaughter was "very unlikely" due to logistical issues and a pending lawsuit from environmentalists. That means most of the 667 migrating bison captured this winter could be released back into Yellowstone in coming weeks.
Earlier plans to kill roughly half the animals were put on hold in February. That's when Montana's governor imposed a 90-day prohibition on slaughter shipments. Miller says the option was revived briefly this week.
For years federal and state agencies have killed bison attempting to leave the park over fears they could spread the disease brucellosis to cattle.