13 Bison Killed After Montana Highway Accident

Efthymis Oraiopoulos
By Efthymis Oraiopoulos
January 2, 2023US News
13 Bison Killed After Montana Highway Accident
Bison roam outside Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Mont., on March 17, 2011. (Janie Osborne/AP Photo)

Thirteen bison are dead after being hit by a semi-truck on a Montana highway on Wednesday night, police have said.

The semi-truck also collided with two vehicles, according to a statement from the West Yellowstone police department. No people in the vehicles involved in the accident were hurt.

Those Bison not killed outright by the crash but were severely injured were euthanized, according to the release.

The accident happened on U.S. Highway 191, just north of the town of West Yellowstone, which serves as a western entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Only the semi-truck hit the bison, although an initial statement said that the other vehicles involved in the accident also struck the animals. Police wrote a correction in its latest press release.

An official investigation into the accident is being conducted, police said.

Hard to See at Night

Bison can be hard to see at night because of their dark brown color and because their eyes don’t reflect in headlights like deers’ eyes do, police said.

Bison are usually found in these areas and nearby roads because of the abundance of wildlife in the wider area. During winter months, they can also often be found “near paved roadways and snowmobile trails due to these areas being easier for them to travel,” police said.

“We are always saddened by any of these incidents, particularly when so many animals are lost,” they said.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind all drivers to slow down and drive appropriate to the road and weather conditions. Although speed may not necessarily have been a factor in this accident, road conditions at the time would dictate travelling below the posted speed limit.”

Yellowstone National Park is home to a population of bison that fluctuates from between 2,300 to 5,500 animals, according to the National Park Service. The park is the only place in the United States where bison have continually lived since prehistoric times, says the service.

The Associated Press and CNN Wire contributed to this report.

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