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Survivors: Why Yellowstone Bison Are Sacred And Deserve Special Care

Park Superintendent Dan Wenk says the recovery of buffalo represents one of the greatest wildlife conservation success stories in U.S. history

NPS / Neal Herbert
NPS / Neal Herbert

At the turn of the 19th century, fewer than 25 bison clung to existence in then-remote Yellowstone National Park, survivors of annihilation that pushed tens of millions of animals present on the high plains a century earlier to the brink of extinction.
Indigenous people regard the park's bison as sacred. Not long ago, Congress declared the bison to be America's national mammal. Bison also appear as official symbols of both the National Park Service and the U.S. Interior Department.  

Yet over 11,000 of the iconic behemoths have been shot or sent to slaughter after wandering out of the national park into Montana, based on an alleged threat of spreading brucellosis to cattle that does not exist.  Many wildlife-loving Americans are outraged at Montana's intolerance.  Here, Yellowstone Park Superintendent Dan Wenk explains why he thinks the animals are special.
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