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Yellowstone head says Trump administration forcing him out

FILE - This August 17, 2017 file photo shows Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk speaking at an event marking a conservation agreement for a former mining site just north of the park in Jardine, Mont. Wenk announced his retirement on Friday. But On today Wenk said he’s being forced out for what appears to be punitive reasons following disagreements with the Trump administration over how many bison the park can sustain. (Matthew Brown / AP)
FILE - This August 17, 2017 file photo shows Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk speaking at an event marking a conservation agreement for a former mining site just north of the park in Jardine, Mont. Wenk announced his retirement on Friday. But On today Wenk said he’s being forced out for what appears to be punitive reasons following disagreements with the Trump administration over how many bison the park can sustain. (Matthew Brown / AP)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Yellowstone National Park’s superintendent says he’s being forced out for what appear to be punitive reasons following disagreements with the Trump administration over how many bison the park can sustain.

Superintendent Dan Wenk last week announced he intended to retire March 30, 2019, after being offered a transfer he didn’t want to take. He said Thursday he’s been informed that a new superintendent will be in place in August.

Wenk says he wasn’t given a reason and the only dispute he’s had with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was over bison. Ranchers in neighboring Montana, where Zinke served as a congressman, have long sought reductions in Yellowstone’s bison numbers. Wenk says the current population of more than 4,000 animals is sustainable.

Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift declined comment on Wenk’s statements.


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