Why is the Department of Livestock in charge of the bison at Yellowstone National Park?
The Department of Livestock (DOL) is not in charge of the bison in Yellowstone National Park. As long as the bison remain in the park they are under the management of the National Park Service. If the bison leave the park, the DOL is mandated by the State of Montana to take action to ensure the health safety of Montana’s livestock and citizens. The Department of Livestock was given the authority from the legislature to manage the bison/brucellosis disease issue in 1995. The Montana Legislature named the YNP bison as a “species in need of disease management” in 1995. The DOL serves as the lead agency and operates under the Interagency Bison Management Plan. This is the plan that has been signed by the DOL and the MT Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in cooperation with the National Park Service, the United States Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services and the United States Forest Service.