Authorities said that thirteen bison were killed on Wednesday after being hit by a semi-truck outside of Yellowstone National Park.
The West Yellowstone Police Department released a statement on Friday stating that the collision happened on Highway 191 close to mile marker 4 in southern Montana. Authorities claimed that the semi-truck struck all of the bison, and several were later put to death “due to significant injuries.”
According to officials, because it’s easier for bison to move around in the winter, they frequently cross paths with vehicles near roads and trails.
The government stated that because of the area’s abundance of wildlife and its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, wildlife strikes and deaths on roads occur frequently. We are continually devastated by these events, especially when so many creatures are lost.
Because it is more difficult to stop on icy roads, police used the accident to encourage people to slow down when it is safe. When the collision happened, the road’s conditions “would dictate traveling below the posted speed limit.” According to Weather Underground, temperatures were below freezing at the time of the accident in West Yellowstone.
The other two automobiles were found to be isolated instances, contrary to original assumptions made by officials who believed many vehicles were involved in the bison killings.
According to the national park, bison, the largest terrestrial mammal in North America, have lived in Yellowstone from the beginning of time. Before the U.S. Army took action to safeguard it, the species was on the verge of extinction as a result of hunting in the 1800s. According to authorities, there should be 5,450 bison in the region by the summer of 2021. The creatures are frequently spotted in herds.
The Montana Highway Patrol will look into the collision, according to police. The National Park Service and the Montana Highway Patrol have been contacted by USA TODAY for comments.