Source: Buffalo Field Campaign
Buffalo in the Gardiner Basin, in the vicinity of Yellowstone’s trap. BFC photo by Stephany Seay.
Update from the Field: Wild Buffalo Running Out of Safe Places
Yellowstone is gearing up to capture wild buffalo in the Gardiner Basin. Park employees were seen putting out hay in the outer catch pens of Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek buffalo trap, and have opened the gate, in an attempt to lure buffalo into the facility. Three buffalo were seen in there earlier in the week, but, with the gate opened, they soon left. Winter is a difficult time for grazing animals, and when they see free hay, it’s something that is hard for them to resist.
Montana’s state hunt ended today, February 15, but there are still a number of tribes hunting under treaty right. If Yellowstone begins capturing buffalo in earnest while treaty hunting is ongoing, it will interfere with the treaty hunts of multiple tribes. In the past, Yellowstone’s response is that they don’t think hunters are killing enough buffalo. With a goal of killing upwards of 900 buffalo, with about 200 killed so far, Yellowstone is feeling a sense of urgency to capture and kill as many as they can, to ensure that Montana livestock interests are pleased. After all, when it comes to wild buffalo, that is who Yellowstone is working for, rather than the buffalo who they are obligated to protect. Yellowstone always claims that their “hands are tied”, that they are forced to capture and kill the last wild buffalo. They always like to play the victim saying that it’s Montana’s fault (which, in large part, it is), but Yellowstone is absolutely responsible for their operation of the trap, and for never defending the buffalo. They bend over backwards to do the killing wanted by Montana’s livestock industry. It is good to remind them that the document they signed, which became the Interagency Bison Management Plan, for which their trap is a tool, can be terminated by them or any agency, at any time. All they have to do is provide a 30-day notice to terminate this nefarious plan. That’s it! See the Executive Summary of the Final Impact Statement of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (PDF), page iii, the last sentence of paragraph one, where it states clear as a bell: “Finally, the agreement provided that any agency could terminate the agreement by providing a 30-day notice to the other parties that the agency would withdraw from the agreement.”
TAKE ACTION! Call Yellowstone’s Superintendent Dan Wenk and tell him to keep their trap shut! Remind him that Yellowstone’s hands are not tied, they can pull out of the IBMP, stop the slaughter, and refuse to choose to serve Montana livestock interests. # 307-344-2002
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