Skip to main content

Yellowstone bison to be loaned to Ted Turner

By Nick Valencia, CNN
The bison had been facing slaughter, but now will go to Ted Turner's Green Ranch in Montana.
The bison had been facing slaughter, but now will go to Ted Turner's Green Ranch in Montana.
  • Turner will get 88 disease-free bison to use for breeding
  • Yellowstone bison had been quarantined after concerns about brucellosis
  • Turner has 50,000 bison, making it the largest private herd in the world

(CNN) -- Philanthropist and billionaire businessman Ted Turner will receive 88 disease-free bison from Yellowstone National Park, Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks confirmed Tuesday.

The bison, which were facing slaughter, will be transferred for breeding to Turner's "Green Ranch," west of Bozeman, Montana, from a quarantine facility.

"The Green Ranch emerged as the best option we have for these bison right now," said Ken McDonald, said the state agency's wildlife bureau chief in Helena, Montana. "It gives us time to evaluate the social and biological factors that will come into play as we begin to plan for the future of bison management in Montana."

For several years, the bison were quarantined and spared from slaughter after concerns about brucellosis disease, an infectious disease caused by contact with animals carrying the bacteria called brucella.

All quarantined bison delivered to Turner's property, along with 25 percent of their offspring, will be returned to the state wildlife agency at the conclusion of the agreement, which will last up to five years, the release said.

Turner Enterprises' Green Ranch proposal describes 12,000 acres of suitable habitat, excellent handling facilities, years of experience with bison and secure living space for the animals. The ranch also will participate in continued disease testing and monitoring conducted by state and federal officials, the release said.

According to the Turner Enterprises Inc. Web site, Turner, who founded CNN in 1980, is the largest individual landowner in North America with an estimated 2 million acres. His Western properties consist of 15 ranches in seven states. His bison herd is about 50,000 animals, making it the largest private herd in the world, his Web site said.