- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) - More than 200 bison were rounded up and tested at the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park this week.

The animals were collected over the past few days with the help of a helicopter, herding them into the holding pens at the park, KXMC-TV (https://bit.ly/2eAbg1J ) reported.

All 225 bison were tested for disease, tagged for easy identification and prepared for their release back into the park.

Some of the animals will be given to various groups including American Indian tribes and the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown.

Park chief biologist Blake McCann said he’d like to ramp up the frequency of the roundups to improve the long-term health of the bison herd.

“We want to take out younger animals, yearlings and two-year-olds, in order to basically preserve genetic diversity in the older ranks. There have been some studies that demonstrated that if you focus on younger animals for removals, you’re able to reduce the overall loss of genetic diversity in a closed population.” said McCann.

He also said the herd reductions keep grass in the park from being over-grazed.

The herds in the north and south units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are considered closed populations since they are restricted to park property and have no natural predators.

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Information from: KXMC-TV, https://www.kxnet.com


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