Update from the Field: Largest Buffalo Safe Zone Sold, Zinke Aims to Drive Down Buffalo Population

Source: Buffalo Field Campaign

Buffalo Safe Zone Sold

Montana’s largest Buffalo Safe Zone has been sold. The former Galanis property, about 700 acres of lush green grass and rolling hills, was recently bought, and while we don’t know exactly how the new owners feel about the buffalo, the large “Bison Safe Zone” sign has been removed. The caretaker has contacted us to say that we are no longer welcome there, and we fear that this may mean the same for the buffalo. This is *critical* habitat that the buffalo from the imperiled Central herd use winter and spring, one place they are safe from any harm, and they are devoted to this land which is part of their calving grounds. The Galanis family — incredible champions of the buffalo — are devastated that they have had to let this land go. It’s a heavy blow to all of us. But, we still don’t know for sure how things may or may not change. Perhaps the new owners will understand the tremendous support and fierce loyalty the buffalo have from all the surrounding neighbors and others throughout the West Yellowstone community, and keep things as they are.

Wenk Forced out by Secretary of Interior Zinke

On the federal level, Yellowstone’s superintendent, Dan Wenk, has been ousted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Though wrongfully touted by some “green” groups as a “bison protector”, Wenk had, apparently, been in dispute with Zinke over the number of wild buffalo — the country’s national mammal — who should exist in the Park. The controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan, crafted in the interests of ranchers, places a political cap of 3,000 on the buffalo population. A number not supported by science, ecology, or any form of logic. Yellowstone National Park alone can sustain upwards of 6,500 buffalo, while the surrounding lands of the Greater Yellowstone country could support at least 20,000. For a population who once existed in the tens of millions, this is still a minuscule population size. Yet, Zinke — a Montana cattleman — wants to drive the endangered population down to a mere 2,000.

Zinke, a corrupt Trump appointee, is a known enemy of the earth, a strong champion of industry and corporations who has oil & gas, timber, mining, and ranching advocates salivating. It’s no surprise that, being from Montana, his attention would turn to the wild buffalo of Yellowstone with an aim to cause them greater harm.

For nearly 30 years Park Superintendents have played a lead role in slaughtering buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park. Some have expressed regret, like Mike Finley. Wenk is just the most recent of several superintendents behind the National Park Service’s ongoing slaughter of our last wild buffalo.

That being said, the reality is, Wenk has hardly been a champion of the buffalo. Thousands of the country’s last wild buffalo — the beloved Yellowstone herds — have been shipped to slaughter from within Yellowstone, brutally treated, hazed, domesticated, and otherwise harmed with Wenk standing as Yellowstone’s superintendent. For all the years he’s been in office, he has bent over backwards to serve Montana’s livestock industry, destroying imperiled wild buffalo. It has only been in recent months — after Yellowstone’s trap was attacked four times — and public pressure against the buffalo slaughter has been mounting — that he has started to come out advocating for wild buffalo to be managed as wildlife, and that the livestock industry should not be the ones to dictate how buffalo live or die.

Too little, too late. Actions speak much louder than words, and Wenk’s hands are covered in buffalo blood no different than Zinke’s aim to be. Not only that, but a 50-year wild buffalo domestication / commercialization program has been approved under Wenk’s “protective” leadership, which has already resulted in dozens of buffalo being slaughtered or confined for life.

Will it be worse without him as Superintendent? We simply need to grasp that this whole system is broken and we must stand in solidarity and fight back harder. Zinke has made it clear that the war against the country’s last wild buffalo — our national mammal — is escalating. With our sites aimed straight and true, we stand up even stronger for the wild.



5 replies »

  1. I don’t like Zinke one bit but just where do you come up with him being a cattleman? He lives In whitefish Mt that is more closely related to upscale Beverly Hills then any other place in MT, Other then eating beef I really doubt Zinke has any idea where the head is from the ass on a bovine much less having anything to do with actually raising them. My queston is that if this family was such Bison advocates as apparently they were then why could they not find a way to sell the property to a Conservation enity instead of a private person. I can assure you that in this area this will be come McMansion sites within 2 years and they are 100% sure of what is going to happen to the property as the sellers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Per the BFC (Buffalo Field Campaign) the property was owned by two people – one wanted to sell. Why there was no attempt to reach out to BFC in order to locate a buffalo friendly buyer? They didnt know about the sale until it was too late. The real losers are the buffalo – this area was a safe area for a long time – now? Possible its going to be another place where “hunters” line up to kill each animal as it steps into an area where they have always been safe. check out their site – BuffaloFieldCampaign.org.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Time for the Tribes to unite and step in..
    There is plenty of room left for the Buffalo and plenty of room left for our Wild Horses & Burros
    There is NO room left for the robber baron pirates that have destroyed what belongs to the generations that will inherit this Earth

    Buffalo people unite
    Summer 2016
    Author:Sarah Wade
    Photographer:Thomas Lee

    Two tribes and a host of partners rally to restore the buffalo to tribal lands
    At 9:15 on a chilly Wednesday morning in September, the entire student body of Poplar High School is barreling along Montana Highway 13 in a fleet of school buses. There’s little competition on the road, which slices cleanly through the center of Fort Peck Indian Reservation—a two-million-acre stretch of prairie in northeast Montana that’s home to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. Bright sunlight bounces off the landscape rolling by in muted golds and browns: shorn wheat fields, cattle pastures, twisting creeks lined with poplars.

    The 11th graders in the first bus seem unenthused about the field trip that’s removing them from class. In the seat in front of me, two girls sporting chunky black headphones slump against each other, cocooned in their own music as a Jimmy Eat World hit plays over the speaker system. Behind me two boys crack slang-laced jokes.

    But when the bus turns off the highway-first onto a gravel road, then a mere track snaking between hills-heads begin swiveling toward the windows. We hit a deep pothole and the students shout with surprise. Suddenly, at the top of a knoll, our destination appears in the distance: a cluster of tiny white cones poking from the prairie like teeth. They’re tipis. And they’re standing in the middle of the reservation’s buffalo pasture, where a week-long “Buffalo People Summit” is under way.


    Liked by 2 people

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