Grand Canyon National Park has itself a bison problem. The population of the big herbivores has grown to over 600 and the National Park Service is looking for volunteers to gradually take that number down to about 200 through a combination of culling and relocation over the next five years.
But when they put the word out that they were looking for hunters to be part of the NPS’s “lethal removal” process, they probably weren’t expecting the kind of response they got.
From the Idaho Statesman . . .
All 45,040 people applied with the Arizona Game and Fish Department during a 48-hour window. People were then selected in a lottery draw.
“The lottery … will send applicants to the park for provisional selection,” the National Park Service said. “Final selection will be contingent on meeting the volunteer qualification criteria.”
The final dozen hunters selected for the herd management program will have to have fairly flexible schedules and will be pretty much on their own.
During the 2021 season, there will be four five-day periods when volunteers will remove bison. Volunteers have to complete training on the first day and can’t select which week they participate in.
People who are chosen are then responsible to gather three to five “support volunteers” to help them during the week. They can be family members or friends.
Volunteers also need their own camping equipment, firearms and non-lead ammunition.
Somehow we don’t think any of that will be a problem.
As you can imagine, the Park Service’s bison management plan was not well received by everyone.
From the Sacramento Bee . . .
Alicyn Gitlin of the Sierra Club told The Associated Press last year that she would rather the bison be removed from the area entirely.
“I’m very nervous about there being a perpetual dependency on this use of people having to go into the park and shoot,” she told the AP.
In 2017, The Humane Society of the United States said the plan was unneeded and unwarranted.
“If it happens, the NPS will not only be targeting the very symbol of the agency itself and our national mammal, but spilling their blood in or around yet one more jewel of our nation’s most beloved network of federal lands,” the group wrote.
Do you know anyone who was lucky enough to have been selected?