Multiple bison were killed after being a struck by a semi-truck Wednesday night just outside of Yellowstone National Park.
Thirteen bison died in the traffic accident near mile marker 4 on Highway 191, the West Yellowstone Police Department said in a statement. Some had to be euthanized due to the severity of their injuries, police said.
“Further and thorough investigation” into the accident confirmed all of the bison were hit by the semi-truck, negating earlier reports that two other vehicles were involved, according to police. (RELATED: Officials To Slaughter, Shoot Or Relocate Up To 900 Bison At Yellowstone National Park)
Bison are known to frequent the stretch of highway where the accident occurred, according to police. “In the winter months, they are most often found near paved roadways and snowmobile trails due to these areas being easier for them to travel,” the statement read. Wildlife is often struck and killed in this area due to the large number of animals in close proximity to Yellowstone National Park.
The largest publicly held population of bison resides at Yellowstone, with the herd fluctuating between 2,300 and 5,500, according to the National Park Service. Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times.
Police did not confirm if speed was a factor in Wednesday’s accident, but reminded drivers to match their speed with road and weather conditions. “We are always saddened by any of these incidents, particularly when so many animals are lost,” West Yellowstone Police said.