Thirteen bison killed in traffic accident in Yellowstone Park

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Bison were killed after being hit by a semi-truck near the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Montana on Wednesday, police said.

“Thirteen bison died in this road accident, some of whom had to be euthanized due to serious injuries,” West Yellowstone Police said in a news release posted on Facebook on Friday.

The accident occurred on Highway 191 near Mile Marker 4. Bison tends to frequent his 191 corridor between the town and the Highway 287 junction. According to the release, it’s common during the winter months “because of the ease of movement in these areas near paved driveways and snowmobile trails.”

“This often puts them in the path of vehicles near or on highways,” police said. “Because of the abundance of wildlife in our area and our proximity to Yellowstone National Park, we regularly deal with wildlife being attacked and killed on the roads in our area. We are always saddened by these incidents, especially when so many animals have been lost.”

Police used the incident to caution drivers to “slow down” and take appropriate precautions based on road and weather conditions.

“Speed ​​may not necessarily have been a factor in this accident, but road conditions at the time necessitated driving below the speed limit,” police said. “Don’t drive faster than you can stop within the distance your headlights project.”

Authorities initially believed multiple vehicles were involved, but after a “more thorough investigation” police determined that all 13 bison had hit the semi-truck. An official investigation into the accident is ongoing, according to the release.

Yellowstone National Park is home to between 2,300 and 5,500 bison, according to the National Park Service. The park is the only place in the United States where bison have been continuously inhabited since prehistoric times, the service said. Large mammals were endangered by the early 1900s.

Named the national mammal in 2016, the species now thrives in Yellowstone National Park after intense conservation, breeding, and reintroduction efforts. Yellowstone bison are managed through federal and state agreements that seek to protect the population while preventing the spread of a bacterial infection called brucellosis to Montana’s cattle.

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