Grand Canyon Bison Wreaking Havoc

By: Heather Vecchioni - April 2, 2014

How do you manage a herd of about 400 bison? That’s what the National Park Service is trying to figure out.

This massive gang of beefalo – a hybrid of cattle and buffalo – is taking over the northern reaches of the Grand Canyon. The concern is that they are causing destruction and unsanitary conditions.

Along with trampling vegetation and grazing on pristine meadows, the bison have actually caused some serious damage and major causes for concern. The animals defecate in lakes polluting water sources, have trampled into Mexican spotted owl territory, have turned lush meadows into nubs, and even knocked over walls at American Indian cliff dwellings below the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Federal and state officials have announced three public meetings in which residents of the area are invited to share their ideas on how to manage the huge animals. The meetings are scheduled for April 28 in Kanab, April 29 in Flagstaff, and April 30 in Phoenix. Online meetings are also set to take place.

What you could expect to see at the Grand Canyon:

The population of the hybrids has dramatically increased because they moved to an area in which hunting is illegal. The Arizona Game and Fish department was able to keep the pack down to about 100. With the herd moving over to the Grand Canyon, however, things changed because hunting is prohibited at the national park. Now the group has more than tripled.

Officials at Yellowstone National Park are also revisiting the current bison management plan. Although herds have inhabited the area since prehistoric times, there is concern about disease transmission from the bison to Montana livestock.

Expected proposed methods to manage the livestock include baiting, hazing, fencing, relocating the bison, and shooting them. Officials state that birth control has not proved to be an effective method in the past.

Image via YouTube

About the Author

Heather VecchioniHeather is a wife, mother, foodie, music buff and sports junkie. She loves all things Baltimore, especially Bohs, the O's and the Ravens. Follow her on Twitter @HeatherVWrites

View all posts by Heather Vecchioni
  • Tigerzye

    I am one of the 13% private owners of land on the Grand Canyon and yes I have seen the Buffalo on my land. They are free to do what ever they like there for as long as they want.

  • Great White Beefalo

    Time to bring in Nugent.

    • Otto

      He will cover himself with feces and shoo away the buffalos by sneaking up on them and then mount the buffalos like a mad cow.That would teach the buffalos a lesson and make them staying away forever.

  • Joe Ramirez

    Why aren’t they given more of an area? Take some of the roads out. Does man have to be everywhere?

    • lm1b2

      Take some of the land now being leased to the Ranchers for next to nothing that is owned by us,and give it back to nature,in this case the Buffalo,and Wolf !

  • mimi

    Everything for the “sacred” cows, they kill everything for them, including the wild horses!

  • Karen in Dallas

    Hunt? Restore natural predators?

  • Jelly Belly

    Officials state that birth control has not proved to be an effective method in the past. In defense of the Buffalo in the heat of the moment you might forget a condom.

  • Otto

    Since they are a hybrid of cattle and bison then just make them into steaks and hamburgers.Prolem solved.

    • kathy

      That is disgusting; must we kill everything….if they had less encroachment by people they would have a home range and be safe

  • bill

    I thought that Yellowstone reintroduced wolves to keep and exploding elk population from eating all the young trees. The wolves reduced the eating of willows that allowed beaver to flourish. Don’t the wolves like beefalo?

  • Joey Jacobson

    Is that guy shaking a can of spray paint in his car or what??

    • DC is Evil

      That’s either his teeth chattering in fear, or his nuts.

  • joeymegatron

    Are they even natural to that area of the Grand Canyon? If not, every single one of them should be removed. If they are natural, then they have a big problem, don’t they? How about a buffalo hunt? Me likey bison meat!

    • puzer1

      …they’re a hybrid, so no they are not indigenous…

  • lois

    Why not use some of them for food like they do the deer. Hey to many is to many we have a lot of shelter and food centers who could use the meat.

  • lm1b2

    I’m for the Buffalo,to hell with the ranchers,where are the wolves,the Ranchers kill them off ?

  • John Fairplay

    You know, wild animals have been pooping in lakes and streams since the invention of wild animals. They aren’t hurting anything. Mexican spotted owls better get on the adaptation train if they don’t want to go extinct.

  • Bernard Alfred Stearos

    Thin the herd out, not by hunters (cause it is not hunting), but by the park rangers. Use the meat for homeless shelters. Allow the meat to be inspected and sold by the park to visitors (make money!!!!!). Introduce a very small number of wolves or mountain lion (s) to cull the herd of the weak. Ship some east/north and west so the rest of us can have them for dinner.

  • johnsnare

    What Is the problem.? Why not use the same method they use in states with a huge deer population, and quell the herd, by issuing special hunting licenses.? It is humane, and the meat can be used to feed the less fortunate.?

  • gman

    They were there long before the United States existed – if not move them out to Yellowstone or Montana someplace. .