HELENA — An appeals court has upheld the federal government's ability to slaughter hundreds of wild bison that are captured after they leave Yellowstone National Park.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the National Park Service has the discretion to manage the Yellowstone bison population at levels that can be accommodated, and that culling the herd does not violate federal laws.
The court also ruled the government isn't required to prepare a new environmental impact statement of the Interagency Bison Management Plan used to manage Yellowstone bison since 2000.
The court upheld U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell's ruling last year in a lawsuit filed by nine individuals and conservation groups. Lovell wrote that slaughter is a "time-honored" method of controlling a disease carried by many of the animals.