Staff at Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday reportedly discovered that 52 bison– being held at the Stephens Creek facility for possible quarantine– had been released from their pens.  Q2 reports the National Park Service announced Wednesday it initiated a criminal investigation.  Park staff have been trying to locate and recapture the bison.  However, none have been found.

According to a press release from Yellowstone National Park, the bison were being held and tested for brucellosis at Stephens Creek, as part of a plan being considered to establish a quarantine program.  The purpose of that program is to establish new conservation and cultural herds of disease-free plains bison, to repatriate to the Fort Peck Tribes, and enhance cultural and nutritional opportunities for Native Americans, reduce the shipment of bison to processing facilities, and conserve a viable, wild population of Yellowstone bison.