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.