YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - UPDATE 1/18/18: The National Park Service says it found some of the 52 bison that escaped from holding pens in Yellowstone National Park after someone cut the fence.
The bison were found in the Mammoth Hot Springs area on the northern end of the park. However, the Park Service says no effort will be made to recapture the bison unless they return to the holding facility.
Park staff discovered Tuesday that 52 bison had escaped the Stephens Creek facility near Gardiner, Montana, when someone cut the fence.
The bison were being isolated to assure they were free of brucellosis, a disease that can cause livestock to miscarry. Bison confirmed to be free of the disease were eventually to be set free on tribal land.
The Park Service has opened a criminal investigation.
More than 50 Yellowstone National Park bison have escaped through a cut fence at a containment area where they were being prepared for transfer to the Fort Peck Tribes.
Park officials report 52 of the animals escaped from two pens at the Stephens Creek facility near Gardiner on Tuesday, and the National Park Service has begun a criminal investigation.
The bison had been in containment for nearly two years to assure they were free of brucellosis, a disease that can cause livestock to miscarry.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called the release devastating and said it's unclear if the bison will have to be quarantined again or if they can still be considered a minimal risk for brucellosis.
It appears that someone cut the fence with bolt cutters.
Currently, park staff are making an effort to locate and recapture the bison. At this time, none of the animals have been located.