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Saskatchewan Bison Herd Is Causing Headaches For Officials

12/15/2015 11:21 EST
Donald A Higgs via Getty Images
American Bison (Bison bison) Buffalo migrating, using a paved road.

TISDALE, Sask. — A large herd of unclaimed, roaming bison are continuing to cause headaches for officials around Tisdale, Sask.

The herd was spotted last week and RCMP say some of the animals have been rounded up, but Wayne Black, reeve of the rural municipality of Barrier Valley, says it's still an uncertain situation.

Black says nobody seems to know where the bison come from or how many there are, though last week people reported seeing about 100 of them.

They aren't causing much actual damage, but they pose a significant risk to the travelling public on highways and secondary roads.

"When they're going to make a decision to run a certain direction, they go. And you can't really stop them from going.''

Black says none of the loose animals appear to be marked or tagged.

However, he says everyone who raises bison within the municipality has been contacted and says they are following the regulations that require marking and tagging.

"Are they domestic animals? Probably,'' Black says. "I don't think we have what you would call, well, wild herd of buffalo running around in our area. We are aware several different farms or ranches that raise buffalo in the area so we're assuming these are escaped animals.''

Compounding the problem is that people who have seen them have tried to move them off their property so the bison are getting shy of vehicles and have just started running away.

"You can't chase buffalo like you can domestic cattle,'' says Black. "I mean, they run, they have no respect for horses, four wheelers, vehicles ... when they're going to make a decision to run a certain direction, they go. And you can't really stop them from going.''

Black says the RM also doesn't have the funding or the resources in terms of people capable of rounding up the animals.

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