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Utah holding annual bison roundup on Great Salt Lake island

A bison grazing at Antelope Island on Saturday, June 15, 2019. (Carter Williams, KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Hundreds of horseback riders are again conducting the annual roundup of bison on an island in Utah’s Great Salt Lake.

The roundup on Antelope Island that began Saturday is conducted over three fall weekends, with the first devoted to the actual roundup and the next two to health checks and vaccinations and to releasing the animals or selling some to keep the herd’s size manageable.

Bison have occupied the island about 25 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Salt Lake City, for over 120 years, after a dozen were brought there by a homesteader. There are now 775 bison on the island.

The island is a state park and has no natural predators to keep the herd from growing, and there’s a limited amount of grass for the bison to eat.