Yellowstone bison conservation program on hold

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December 23, 2009 5:46:27 AM PST
An effort to divert some Yellowstone National Park bison from government-sponsored slaughter is on hold after the program's permit expired and criticism emerged over moving some of the animals to Ted Turner's private ranch.

Since 2005, about 200 bison that would otherwise have been captured and slaughtered as they migrated outside the park have been diverted into a conservation research program.

Half the animals were killed for disease testing, and the remainder - plus their offspring - were to be used to start new herds outside the park.

But finding a home for the animals has proved problematic, and state and federal officials say plans to continue the program are now in limbo.

Turner has offered to keep many of the bison on his ranch south of Bozeman but wants to keep 90 percent of their offspring.