Turner's bid for park bison stokes wildlife debate

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January 18, 2010 5:04:58 AM PST
A proposal to move dozens Yellowstone National Park bison onto Ted Turner's Montana ranch is stoking a sharp debate over the role of deep-pocketed private entities as stewards of public wildlife.

Some hunters, conservationists and bison advocates say giving Turner the bison would set a dangerous precedent, allowing him to keep 90 percent of the animal's offspring for commercial purposes.

Others cite Turner's record of conservation advocacy and point out that without him, state officials warn the animals faced possible slaughter.

But the urgency of the situation is open to question.

Federal officials say the bison could be kept longer if needed at a quarantine compound north of the park. They have been there for several years to make sure they are free of the disease brucellosis.