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First Bison Hunt At Grand Canyon National Park Asking For Volunteers To Kill Hundreds Of Animals

by : Emily Brown on : 01 May 2021 09:34
First Bison Hunt At Grand Canyon National Park Asking For Volunteers To Kill Hundreds Of AnimalsNational Park Service

The Grand Canyon National Park is asking for ‘skilled volunteers’ to take part in its first bison hunt in an effort to reduce the population of animals in the area. 

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and the National Park Service announced the application process for the hunt earlier this week, explaining that the bison currently roaming the park have long been considered a nuisance in the area.

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It is estimated there are currently 400-600 bison located at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, having descended from 86 buffalo brought to the area 115 years ago by a rancher named Charles ‘Buffalo’ Jones, and over time the animals have been known to damage water sources, trample vegetation and harm archaeological sites.

Bison Grand CanyonPA Images

Alicyn Gitlin, the Grand Canyon Program Manager for the Sierra Club’s Arizona Chapter, said areas are ‘really taking a hit’ due to the expanding population.

She told USA Today:

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Twenty years ago, I remember going up to the North Rim and just being overwhelmed with the beauty of all these wildflowers and meadows and rare plants.

When I went back around 2014, it was heartbreaking to me because everything looked like a cow pasture.

The Grand Canyon National Park is set to begin ‘a pilot lethal removal program’ in September 2021, where skilled hunters who meet the requirements will each be given a week in which to hunt bison until the program comes to an end on October 29.

On its website, the organisation explains that while hunting serves ‘both public and private purposes’, lethal removal ‘serves a public purpose’ as animals are ‘destroyed primarily for management purposes.’

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A total of 12 volunteers will be chosen by a random lottery involving 25 qualified applicants, who must be able to move the animals’ bodies without motorised assistance. The goal of the hunt is to reduce the herd by 200 animals.

While removing some of the bison could offer ecological and cosmetic benefits, Gitlin has expressed concerns that the hunt will ‘become a regular thing’ and encourage more hunts in national parks in the future.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, Arizona, bison, Now, US

Credits

USA Today and 1 other
  1. USA Today

    Grand Canyon NP seeks 'skilled' hunters to reduce bison population inside the park

  2. National Parks Service

    Bison Reduction FAQs