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In Yellowstone National Park, bison are grazing anew as they migrate to their summer ranges in the park’s interior. One of the worst winters on record took a heavy toll on Yellowstone’s wildlife in which more than half of the bison population, around 2000 all tolled, was lost. But, nature wasn’t the main reaper. Nearly 1,100 bison were shot by park rangers as they wandered near or beyond Yellowstone’s boundaries in search of food. The official reason for the slaughter was to control a disease some bison may carry. But as Jane Fritz reports, it was only the latest chapter in one of the oldest stories in the west: how to enclose open range for private use; and control wildlife that once roamed free.

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