September 17, 2021

Neguse Expresses Concern Over Grand Canyon Bison Removal Plan in Letter to Secretary Haaland, Dep. Director Benge

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands along with Representatives Madeleine Dean, Brian Fitzpatrick, Marcy Kaptur, and Jan Schakowsky, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland regarding plans to remove bison from Grand Canyon National Park. The letter, which was also sent to Deputy Director of National Parks Operations Shawn Benge, urges consideration of non-lethal herd management practices.

“We understand the need to manage the bison population within the Park, as the number of bison have caused concern about their impact on park resources, especially given the projected growth of the herd. However, we are concerned about allowing volunteers to enter into Grand Canyon National Park and kill bison within the National Park boundaries,” wrote the lawmakers. “We would encourage you to not move forward with the lethal removal scheduled for next week and revisit alternative methods that can be used to manage the population within the park boundaries.”

“The National Park Service is undermining an important precedent by allowing hunters to kill habituated bison inside the boundaries of Grand Canyon,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action.  “Grand Canyon has had no hunting for 100 years, and it’s no time to start now.”

This letter comes only weeks after Neguse sent a letter to Haaland regarding the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Roundup taking place in Northern Colorado. He argued that the methods used to corral and contain the wild horses were inhumane and posed risks to the longevity of the herd. Ensuring ethical ecosystem management is a key piece of Neguse’s “Restoring Our Lands and Our Communities” agenda as Subcommittee Chairman. 

Read the full letter here and below:

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The Honorable Deb Haaland                                                  The Honorable Shawn Benge
Secretary of the Interior                                                          Deputy Director, Operations
Department of the Interior                                                      National Park Service
1849 C Street N.W.                                                                1849 C Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240                                                        Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Haaland and Deputy Director Benge,

Thank you for your leadership at the Department of the Interior. We write to express concern with the upcoming lethal removal of bison within the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, scheduled to begin next week. 

We understand the need to manage the bison population within the Park, as the number of bison have caused concern about their impact on park resources, especially given the projected growth of the herd. However, we are concerned about allowing volunteers to enter into Grand Canyon National Park and kill bison within the National Park boundaries. 

There are other non-lethal methods to manage the bison population, such as the use of live capture and Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP), a fertility control vaccine, that could be used to support the long-term management of the bison within the Grand Canyon National Park. The Department of Interior has successfully used PZP for the management of other species, including deer and wild horses, and even bison at Catalina Island National Park.  

We appreciate the need for population control methods in the park but have concerns about the emphasis on lethal removal methods in the Bison Herd Reduction Environmental Assessment. We would encourage you to not move forward with the lethal removal scheduled for next week and revisit alternative methods that can be used to manage the population within the park boundaries. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to continuing to work with you.  

Sincerely,