Posted: May 11, 2012 5:01 PM by Marnee Banks (KXLH Helena)
Updated: May 11, 2012 5:22 PM
HELENA- A non-profit group is asking a federal court judge to stop the state from using helicopters to herd bison.
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed the injunction this week claiming the use of low flying helicopters to herd bison negatively impacts grizzly bears.
The Montana Department of Livestock uses helicopters to herd escaped bison back into Yellowstone Park in order to prevent the animals from spreading brucellosis to cattle. The agency also uses aircraft to conduct high level recognizance and monitor the bison herds.
Department of Livestock Director Christian Mackay says the agency has not seen any data which shows the helicopters negatively impact the bison. He says the agency used helicopters to herd bison on Friday.
However, the Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Mike Garrity claims by using helicopters it forces grizzlies out of their natural habitat.
"The scientific studies done by the Parks Service and the Forest Service show that when [grizzlies] are forced to leave their habitat by things such a low level helicopter flights, they move into the new habitat that they are not familiar with and they have a less likely chance of survival," Garrity says.
Both sides will present their case in Federal Court on Monday.
(photo courtesy of Buffalo Field Campaign)