They called in volunteer hunters to regulate the bison population in the United States


They called in volunteer hunters to regulate the bison population in the United States: more than 45,000 people showed up.

The National Park Service launched a controlled operation in Arizona to reduce the growing numbers of these animals and preserve the ecosystem. Twelve shooters will be chosen before May 17, and each must present their own rifle.

More than 45,000 people have volunteered to kill 12 bison in the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States, as part of an unprecedented program to regulate the growing population of this animal, announced this Friday by the National Park Service ( NPS).

Bison can damage "water resources, vegetation, park soil" and threaten archaeological sites if they become too numerous, NPS spokeswoman Kaitlyn Thomas told AFP, adding that "reducing the size of the herd" allows "to protect the ecosystem."

To respond to this problem, the authorities of the Grand Canyon Park in Arizona launched in early May a call for nominations to find twelve volunteers willing to participate in the operation.

Of the 45,000 applications received in just two days, 25 finalists will be drawn, and 12 will finally be chosen before May 17.

Each of them will be authorized to kill a bison, which must then be able to "remove from the area on foot, without the help of a motorized vehicle," the use of which is not authorized in this area, indicates the NPS, the federal agency in charge of the management of the great natural spaces of the United States.

To be eligible to participate, volunteers must be US citizens of legal age, "in very good physical condition," have their own rifle, receive training, and "have strong verbal communication skills," the NPS continued.

The spokesman said the animal carcasses would be distributed among the volunteers, and any portion required by the volunteers will be handed over to the tribal governments of the 11 tribes affiliated with the Grand Canyon National Park. 

The move was a resounding success, though it did not surprise Thomas, who doubted it would be of much interest. When the program began, park received hundreds of emails and calls asking for more information on registration.

However, the NPS has advised that it is not a victim, as the operation is controlled by park authorities and is not done for recreational or private purposes.

Since 2019, the park has been occupying Bison to relocate. Between 400 and 600 bison are currently thought to live in the northern part of Grand Valley Park.

In ten years, experts estimate that its population could triple, reaching about 1,500 animals.

According to Thomas, such a program is rare in the Grand Valley, but similar measures have been taken in other national parks to deal with the goat population.