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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Management of Yellowstone bison and brucellosis transmission risk – Implications for conservation and restoration

Published source details

White P.J., Wallen R.L., Geremia C., Treanor J.J. & Blanton D.W. (2011) Management of Yellowstone bison and brucellosis transmission risk – Implications for conservation and restoration. Biological Conservation, 144, 1322-1334


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Treat disease in wild mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after study in 2001–2010 on grasslands in and around a national park in Wyoming, USA (White et al. 2011) found that intensive management, including vaccination, of Yellowstone bison Bison bison bison did not reduce prevalence of brucellosis Brucella abortus. The proportion of adult female bison testing positive for brucellosis increased or remained constant during the period at approximately 60%. However, transmission of brucellosis from bison to domestic cattle was almost eliminated. Bison were intensively managed, which included separating them from cattle on winter pastures, herding them into the park in spring, and periodic culls where these aims could not be achieved. A proportion of bison was tested for brucellosis and animals that tested positive were slaughtered. Bison, especially adult females, were vaccinated either when captured or by remote vaccine delivery. During 2001–2010, 1,643 bison that tested positive for brucellosis were slaughtered and 18 were released. A total of 1,517 bison that tested negative or were untested were also slaughtered. The overall population ranged from 2,432 to 5,015 during this period.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)