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Judge hears arguments over Turner bison

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 29 2013 06:47:19 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

A Gallatin County Judge heard arguments for a summary judgment in the case of offspring from quarantined bison on Ted Turner's ranch.

Four wildlife advocacy groups challenged Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks' decision to give Turner 75 percent of bison taken from Yellowstone after its Quarantine Feasibility Study.

The groups argue letting Turner Enterprises keep the offspring violates the state's responsibility to protect wildlife for public, not private benefit.

"This is a landmark case, it's never really been heard in court before about the public trust and wildlife," says President of the Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation Joe Gutkoski.

FWP argues Turner was the best option and that they're meeting their duties as outlined by the state.
     
Folks with FWP also argue the option of letting Turner Enterprises keep the offspring still means those original bison will be returned to the public. Plus, they say that's more bison going back to Montanans than other options, like moving them to tribal lands out of state.

They say the the ranch provided an opportunity to separately maintain those pure bison, monitor and test them and say it was their best option at the time.