grandcanyonbison
Bison enter a corral on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park during the park’s bison corralling pilot program in 2019. Photo by Bryan Maul / National Park Service
Bison herd to be reduced to 200
Monday, May 10, 2021
Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

GRAND CANYON, Arizona — According to the National Park Service (NPS) the herd of 600 bison on the Grand Canyon North Rim will be reduced to 200 by a “lethal removal program.” The program gets underway in September 2021.

An April 2014 NPS press release detailed the history of how the bison herd got to the North Rim: “A herd of bison was brought to the Grand Canyon region in the early 1900s and has been managed since 1950 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in the House Rock Wildlife Area (HRWA) on the Kaibab National Forest through an interagency agreement with the United States Forest Service.

During the late 1990s, the bison began ‘pioneering’ up to the top of the Kaibab Plateau and into Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP). A combination of public hunt pressure, drought and fire, and reduced forage quality in House Rock Valley during the 1990s may have contributed to the bison moving through Saddle Mountain Wilderness and onto the higher elevations of the Kaibab Plateau. Over the past several years, very few bison have returned to HRWA and most now spend a majority of their time inside the park, with many not leaving GCNP.”

The press release laid the foundations for a long period of public input on how to deal with the escalating negative impact the bison were having on the North Rim environment, but nowhere did it mention hunting, either in a controlled program, or for recreation. The first efforts at herd reduction were two major relocation programs.

According to a September 2019 NPS press release, 31 bison were transferred to Oklahoma to join the herd of the Quapaw tribe. Nowhere in this press release is a bison hunt mentioned. This transfer was made possible through a cooperative effort with the 15-year-old Intertribal Buffalo Council (ITBC).

According to their website: “The Intertribal Buffalo Council is a collection of 69 federally recognized Tribes from 19 different states whose mission is to restore buffalo to Indian Country in order to preserve our historical, cultural, traditional, and spiritual relationship for future generations. To reestablish healthy buffalo populations on Tribal lands is to reestablish hope for Indian people. By returning the buffalo to Tribal lands will help heal the land, the animal, and the spirit of the Indian people.”

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Contact James Giago Davies at skindiesel@msn.com

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today