Yellowstone says remote vaccination for bison would be costly

Jan 14, 2014

The National Park Service does not wish to start using air guns to vaccinate Yellowstone bison for Brucellosis.

Brucellosis is a disease that can cause bison and other large animals to abort their calves. Currently, the park only vaccinates bison when they leave the park, and even then, only a few animals are vaccinated. But Park Spokesman Al Nash says after some legal disputes regarding bison management over a decade ago, Yellowstone agreed to look into new options.

“What we studied was a way that we could deliver the vaccine without … rounding up and capturing large numbers of bison on, say, an annual basis – if there was a way that we could deliver the vaccine to animals in the wild,” Nash said.

Nash says they determined that it would cost $9 million over a 30-year period, and would only result in a small reduction in brucellosis cases. So they would rather keep doing business as usual.

“Frankly, we just didn’t think it was a good investment of our time, or the taxpayer dollar,” Nash said.

The National Park Service has released a final Environmental Impact Statement on the vaccination program, and Nash says their Regional Director is expected to make a final decision about it in late winter or early spring.