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The Sioux Chef launches petition to stop Grand Canyon bison cull

Only 12 "skilled volunteers" will ultimately be selected to participate.

The Sioux Chef, a Minnesota-based team dedicated to supporting indigenous food systems, is hoping to stop a planned bison cull at the Grand Canyon.

Founder/CEO and Chef Sean Sherman, of the Oglala Lakota band, launched a petition asking the National Park Service to halt plans for a "lethal culling" of the bison herd at Grand Canyon National Park.

"Slaughtering this many bison without proper tribal consideration is wrong," reads the petition, which has nearly 18,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

The National Park Service received more than 45,000 applicants for the cull, which is set to start in September of 2021. Only 12 "skilled volunteers" will ultimately be selected to participate, with each allowed to take one single bison. The reduction, the National Park Service says, is one of the ways it plans to reduce the herd from its current size of 600, down to about 200. This will help "protect park resources and values from the impacts of the rapidly growing herd."

Sherman in the petition argues there are "better solutions than the thoughtless slaughter of so many animals," noting the historical importance of bison to Native American communities - as well as the species' near-extinction at the hands of European settlers to the continent.

"These animals can find new homes and would need welcomed by many tribes across the US," the petition reads.

The National Park Service says is "is supported via consultation with the public and traditionally associated Tribes," also noting the live capture and relocation pilot program operating at the site since 2019.  

"Since the program began, 88 animals have been captured and relocated to five American Indian Tribes through an agreement with the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council," the agency says.

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