Several environmental and animal rights organizations penned a letter to the Department of the Interior (DOI) ahead of a massive bison hunt scheduled to take place in the Grand Canyon National Park as a means to control the expanding bison population in the region.
The lethal removal program, slated to be piloted this September, is a rare instance of hunting sanctioned by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and DOI that aims to reduce the number of bison occupying the Grand Canyon’s North Rim from about 600 down to under 200.
NPS officials say that the bison population here has seen rapid growth, which has adverse impacts on the surrounding ecosystem.
Organizations including the Animal Wellness Action, Center for a Humane Economy, and Animal Wellness Foundation disagree, arguing in a letter that this region is natural bison territory, making them native and noninvasive to the region.
“Concerns about bison impacts on the land are exaggerated and more a matter of aesthetics than ecology,” the letter reads. “These are large animals who gather in herds. Like any animal of its size, they will leave footprints on the land, consume forage and water.”
Moreover, the organizations take umbrage with the manner in which the NPS decided to select removal volunteers.