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Ted Turner has volunteered to rescue some of Yellowstone’s quarantined bison—but not just out of the goodness of his cable news-gilded heart. In exchange for the estimated $480,000 it would cost to keep the bison for the five-year quarantine period, Turner wants to keep 90 percent of their offspring. (Many Yellowstone bison are quarantined because of possible brucellosis infection—read more about it here.)
The idea, first suggested by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and given preliminary approval by the head of Montana’s wildlife agency, would move 74 bison now quarantined in Corwin Springs, Mont., to Turner’s 113,00 acre ranch south of Bozeman, Mont.
Turner Enterprises General Manager Russell Miller told the AP that Turner wanted to help the state after previous efforts to relocate the bison failed. “I see this as a perfect blend between conservation for the public good and privatization to recoup the costs,” Miller said.
Despite Miller’s win-win situation claims, U.S. Department of Agriculture and conservationists worry Turner’s good deed could pave the way for privatization of Montana wildlife. But state officials see the move as a chance to reestablish bison herds on public lands: If the proposal goes through, the herd could be moved to Turner’s Flying D ranch by late February. Final approval depends on an environmental study of the herd, a 30-day comment period, and the go-ahead from Fish Wildlife and Parks chief Joe Maurier.
Turner also owns Ted’s Montana Grill, which serves buffalo burgers to the masses, but Miller assures the AP that the “Yellowstone burger” won’t appear on the menu. These Yellowstone bison are prized for their genetics rather than their meat.
Let us know what you think of Turner’s proposed bison adoption in the comments section below.