Yellowstone Says No To Vaccinating Bison Using Air Guns

Mar 24, 2014

Yellowstone National Park has rejected the adoption of new methods to vaccinate bison from Brucellosis.

Brucellosis is a disease that can cause bison and other large animals to abort their calves. Yellowstone currently hand-vaccinates just a few bison, and only when they leave the park. But nearly a decade ago, there were legal disputes over bison management, and the park agreed to look into vaccinating bison in the wild, using air guns.

Park Spokesman Al Nash says remote vaccination didn’t seem like a good idea. He says there are too many uncertainties about the effectiveness of the vaccine, and the park’s ability to deliver the vaccine successfully.

“We would end up spending millions of taxpayer dollars over a 30-year period, and by doing so we might see a small reduction in the prevalence of brucellosis in bison,” Nash said. “And that would really not give us any significant benefit to bison conservation.”

The park will continue to hand-vaccinate a small number of bison that migrate out of the park. 

Nash says the decision will not affect bison hunting outside of the park.