On Thursday, the Catalina Island Conservancy had to make the difficult decision to put down a bison which had been exhibiting erratic behavior and provoking dangerous wildlife-human interactions.
Over the past three weeks Conservancy rangers and operations managers had attempted multiple efforts to encourage the bison to relocate citing a rapid escalation in risk to human life after witnessing a bison charging on a person.
While all animals on the Island are wild and guests are warned to keep a distance, this bison seemed to seek out opportunities to confront guests enjoying the town of Two Harbors. After many failed attempts to encourage the bison to move away from the populated areas, the Conservancy made the difficult decision to euthanize the bison.
This choice of action was based on the high risk the bison posed to the public, numerous failed attempts to lure the bison away from the populated area, and the lack of viable options. While tranquilizing and relocating the bison was considered, it was not a feasible solution as the bison would further endanger the public during the weeks necessary to secure the tranquilizers. Furthermore, it was inevitable that the bison would have returned to the area and continue displaying defensive behaviors toward people.
The Catalina Island Conservancy acknowledges the local love and respect we all have for the bison on Catalina Island, but whenever a decision involves the public well-being and safety, that must be our priority.