Update from the Field: Direct Action, Yellowstone Captures More Buffalo, Far Exceeds Kill Quota, Hunting Has Ended

by Levi Rickert as published on Native News.com

“Given the number of buffalo captured for slaughter and quarantine, along with the excessive hunting that took place along Yellowstone’s boundary, more than 1,200 buffalo have been eliminated from the country’s last wild, migratory buffalo populations, which now hovers at fewer than 3,600. That doesn’t even include natural winter mortality, which can also take a heavy toll.”

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

An adult female buffalo held captive inside Yellowstone’s trap. She’s imprisoned in a small, dung-filled sorting pen until such time as trucks and trailers arrive to send her and her friends to slaughter. Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign.

On March 16th, two more people were arrested after attempting to halt Yellowstone from shipping wild buffalo to slaughter. The two men, Coyote and Wolf, with the direct action collective Wild Buffalo Defense, locked down to three concrete-filled barrels in front of the gate to the access road that leads to the trap. They were released from jail on Monday. Their brave act stalled operations for four hours.

Despite these courageous actions along with overwhelming public opposition to the slaughter, Yellowstone continues to kill buffalo. That morning, Yellowstone officials were so determined to send buffalo to slaughter — the very gentle giants the country has entrusted with their care — that they destroyed sensitive habitat to create a road around the blockade so that the trucks could get through.

his begs the question: whom does Yellowstone serve? Certainly not the global public, including Montanans, who are largely opposed to the slaughter of the last wild buffalo. Yellowstone presses on with urgency, capturing and killing as many buffalo as they can so they can make the cattle lobby of Montana happy. Yellowstone betrays Native buffalo cultures, the general public, their mission, the Organic Act, and, most importantly, the buffalo. Not even in Yellowstone National Park is our national mammal safe.

Perhaps in response to the embarrassment they feel from doing what they know is wrong, and to having their “government operations” interrupted again, Yellowstone treated the two men very aggressively and made shocking statements in defense of the slaughter, telling the protectors, “these buffalo are going to die and there’s nothing you can do to stop it!

Yellowstone Captures More Buffalo, Far Exceeds Kill Quota

Yellowstone has further retaliated by capturing more buffalo, bringing the total captured to nearly 800 individuals. Even though it’s just a few weeks away from calving season, they still may not be done. Many of these buffalo are from the imperiled Central herd, who even Yellowstone admits are in dire straights. The buffalo managers (read: manglers) that entered this winter with a goal of killing between 600-900 buffalo have far exceeded this quota.

Given the number of buffalo captured for slaughter and quarantine, along with the excessive hunting that took place along Yellowstone’s boundary, more than 1,200 buffalo have been eliminated from the country’s last wild, migratory buffalo populations, which now hovers at fewer than 3,600. That doesn’t even include natural winter mortality, which can also take a heavy toll.

It is unknown how many remain in the Central herd, who numbered a shocking 847 before this killing season began. Over 100 were killed by hunters in the Hebgen Basin, and aside from a few radio-collared females, none of the bison managers know how many of the buffalo killed in the Gardiner Basin were from this highly endangered population. Yellowstone is acting in foolish haste to appease Montana’s livestock industry, making excuses not backed by science, ecology, or public sentiment to wantonly destroy this sacred, keystone species, who is a national treasure and the last of their kind.

Yellowstone’s buffalo slaughter continues to be challenged from every direction, and pressure on them is increasing and will continue to do so until they quit being puppets for Montana cowboys.

Hunting Has Ended

Hunting seasons have finally ended, so some buffalo are enjoying a respite. Of the buffalo who do roam free, BFC Gardiner patrols report that fewer and fewer are in the Gardiner Basin. Spring is here, and calving season will be underway in just a few weeks. Buffalo are starting to move to their calving grounds; Northern herd buffalo are heading up towards the Blacktail Plateau, while the surviving Central herd buffalo are slowly beginning to move into the Hebgen Basin.

There is hope in the coming of the calves. Grizzly bears are also waking up. Patrols cut fresh tracks of a young grizzly the other morning, and there has been another sighting around Horse Butte, and a couple inside the park. These bears are hungry and are looking for winter-killed buffalo meat — an extremely important food source for them after emerging from their long winter’s nap. We hope they will find enough food to eat, given that Yellowstone has stolen so much of it from them.

Patrols in the Hebgen Basin are making ready to serve as buffalo crossing guards, helping to warn traffic as buffalo migrate to their calving grounds. These rove patrols have saved many lives, both human and buffalo. Our night roves are particularly important, as that’s when buffalo tend to get struck by vehicles, because they are so difficult to see at night.

Patrols are also keeping a close eye south of the Madison River, where buffalo were not granted year-round habitat, and are therefore threatened by hazing operations conducted by the Montana Department of Livestock. But, thanks to the incredible victory of gaining wild buffalo year-round habitat on Horse Butte and lands north, we are also very much looking forward to the days we can just be on the land with the buffalo, watching the new calves arrive, spending time in their peaceful presence, listening to their stories.

http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/update-field-direct-action-yellowstone-captures-buffalo-far-exceeds-kill-quota-hunting-ended/

Stephany Seay, Media Coordinator for Buffalo Field Campaign, on the fight to protect the last, genetically pure wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park (Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wed., 3/28/18)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, March 28, 2018

5:00 p.m. PST … 6:00 p.m. MST … 7:00 p.m. CST … 8:00 p.m. EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

The Buffalo Trap

Our guest tonight is Stephany Seay, Media Coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC), the only group working both in the field and in the policy arenas to stop the harassment and slaughter of America’s last wild buffalo.

The buffalo of Yellowstone National Park, considered by many to be a living national treasure, are often harassed and killed by federal and state government agencies.  BFC serves the herds as defenders and protectors, helping ensure the survival of future buffalo generations.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

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Action Alert! Sign on to list American Bison as A Species of Conservation Concern

Source:  Buffalo Field Campaign
Signatories Wanted!

For individuals in the United States, please sign on to our report in support of listing American bison as a species of conservation concern on National Forest lands.

Your signature will be added to our final report and submitted as a public comment to recognize American bison as a species of conservation concern in the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s revised forest plan.

Becoming a signatory will also give you standing to object to the National Forest’s final decision.

In signing on, you will be adding your voice to a chorus of people who want to see the legacy of wild bison on National Forest lands protected for future generations.

For thousands of years native bison have roamed the forest. This is our country’s National Mammal and the last representation of wild bison still roaming their native land. Sign on today!

Individuals & Organizations:  To become a signatory, please fill out each of the required fields HERE.

Judge Gives Yellowstone Bison Second Chance For Endangered Species Protections

as published on Wyoming Public Media

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its decision to deny Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone bison.

The service initially concluded there was not enough evidence that the buffalo needed protection under the Endangered Species Act back in 2015. A study by Natalie Halbert, a research assistant at Texas A&M, showed current management techniques for the mammal are harmful and would benefit from the Endangered Species Act protections.

Currently, bison are managed as one herd. But Josh Osher, Montana director for Western Watersheds Project, said studies show they should be managed as two distinct herds. One of the studies was done by Natalie Halbert, through Texas A&M.

“Halbert’s findings suggested that management approach can endanger the genetic integrity of one or both of those subpopulations,” said Osher.

The judge ruled this week that the service must thoroughly consider all scientific evidence, including Halbert’s study. Now U.S. Fish and Wildlife service must redo their original 90-day finding blocking protections.

“Unless the Fish and Wildlife Service can say somehow the Halbert study is an error and not appropriate to be used for consideration,” said Osher, “then the Fish and Wildlife will have to find that bison may be warranted for listing and move on to their more stringent 12-month review.”

Conservationists are hoping this a right step towards adding the mammal to the endangered species list.

http://wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/judge-gives-yellowstone-bison-second-chance-endangered-species-protections#stream/0

George Wuerthner, (Exec. Dir. of Public Lands Media, V.P. on BoD of Western Watersheds Project & author) to talk about the impacts of the livestock industry on the West (Wed., 11/1/17 on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017

5:00 p.m. PST … 6:00 p.m. MST … 7:00 p.m. CST … 8:00 p.m. EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guest tonight is GEORGE WUERTHNER, the Exec. Director of Public Lands Media (a project of the Earth Island Institute), Vice President on the Board of Directors for Western Watersheds Project and the author of 38 books.  George will be talking about the multiple ways that the livestock industry impacts the West, from water use, to sage grouse, to bison being shot in Yellowstone and to the killing of predators like grizzlies and wolves.

George’s books include Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction Of The American West, Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation, Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth, and Protecting the Wild: Parks and Wilderness, the Foundation for Conservation.

Most recently, George was the Ecological Projects Director/Senior Scientist for the Foundation for Deep Ecology and Tompkins Conservation for 12 years. Previous to this position, George taught ecology courses and environmental writing as adjunct lecturer at a number of universities, worked as botanist/backcountry ranger, river ranger, biologist and forestry technician for various federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the Forest Service, and was a wilderness guide in Alaska and Yellowstone National Park. George studied Zoology/Wildlife Biology/Botany at the University of Montana, and for graduate school, studied Range Science at Montana State University, Science Communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Geography at the University of Oregon.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

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Yellowstone and Montana are Killing the Last Wild Buffalo

read more at the Buffalo Field Campaign

“Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo…”

photo – Buffalo Field Campaign

More than 1,200 of America’s last wild buffalo have been killed this winter, and it isn’t over yet. Hunting along Yellowstone’s boundaries has taken the lives of more than 400 buffalo. Hunters are still in the field making kills. It’s a terrible time of year to hunt. The buffalo — like other wild grazers — have used up all of their fat stores, and are showing ribs and bony hips, waiting for the re-greening of the Earth so they can again replenish their huge bodies. This is also the time of year when the long, harsh winter takes her toll, too. There will be many buffalo who will not survive into spring, but the government is not accounting for these deaths in their mad rush to reduce this most significant and vulnerable population. Further, hunters are still killing adult female buffalo who will begin having their calves in about six weeks. All too often, BFC patrols make heartbreaking discoveries of finding fully-formed baby buffalo in their mother’s gut piles.

Additionally, Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo — has captured close to 800 buffalo, all of whom have been or will be sent to slaughter. The trap is emptying quickly, though Yellowstone continues to attempt to capture. Recently, some buffalo have resisted these attempts, while others have not been so lucky. On Monday in Gardiner, BFC patrols documented as five Yellowstone wranglers on horseback tried to trap fifty-five buffalo; all but one got away, running to the hills for their lives. The unfortunate mama buffalo who was trapped caught the attention of another family group of twenty-two. Coming dangerously close to the trap, they sealed their own fate as the wranglers, hungry to capture, took advantage of the situation. Hundreds of wild buffalo are gone forever. BFC’s Mike Mease and Stephany Seay attended the second media tour of Yellowstone’s trap last Thursday, where we again witnessed Yellowstone park rangers, wranglers, and biologists doing the service of the Montana Department of Livestock as they loaded wild buffalo onto stock trailers headed for the slaughterhouse, then proceeded to move more through the trap. It has become business as usual for these buffalo abusers, just another day in the park. They tell us that they don’t like doing this, that they want slaughter to end, but their actions say something else. Yellowstone National Park is not without significant power, but they have shown they are without courage. They can stand up to Montana and refuse to participate. But they don’t. Their cold routine of capturing, testing, sorting, and shipping the country’s national mammal to a horrific death — as they don the image of this sacred being on their uniforms and rake in millions from the people who come to adore them — has become just another day at work. They attempt to put the task of change on the public, shirking responsibility for their part in these crimes. While it is true that a current Montana law – MCA 81-2-120 — is the driver behind the cumulative mismanagement plans and practices, Yellowstone should not have the luxury of of passing the buck. The world’s most well-known national park has astounding influence that they choose not to use. Instead, they kill America’s last wild buffalo. By the end of March, this should all be over.

Please continue to keep pressure on Montana and Yellowstone. Do not ease up. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses. Laws, decisions, and management plans can be changed.
* Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk 307-344-2002
* Montana Governor Steve Bullock 406-444-3111

And contact your members of Congress to tell them that this must end once and for all. Congress holds the purse strings and can end the funding…(CONTINUED)

http://buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/yellowstone-and-montana-are-killing-the-last-wild-buffalo

Yellowstone & Montana Can Stop the Bison Slaughter Today

Source: The Buffalo Field Campaign

“Most people who reach these decision-makers are meeting with frustration; being told lies in condescending tones by the governor’s office that Yellowstone is responsible for the slaughter while Yellowstone officials say that it’s all Montana’s fault and there is nothing they can do to stop it.”

This winter’s Yellowstone buffalo death toll has breached one thousand, and continues to climb. Counting the few hundred still trapped inside Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek capture facility and the continued hunting pressures just outside the park, the government agencies will likely surpass their goal of killing 1,300 ecologically extinct wild, migratory buffalo. This does not even include the significant number of buffalo deaths due natural causes from the severe winter. Hundreds of thousands of people are seeing and sharing BFC’s stories and images of Yellowstone’s shameful crimes against wild buffalo. These actions are being conducted with your tax dollars on behalf of Montana’s livestock industry.

This morning BFC will be attending a second “media tour” inside the trap. The atrocious actions we’re witnessing and documenting continue despite thousands, if not tens of thousands, of calls, emails, and letters to Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk and Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Most people who reach these decision-makers are meeting with frustration; being told lies in condescending tones by the governor’s office that Yellowstone is responsible for the slaughter while Yellowstone officials say that it’s all Montana’s fault and there is nothing they can do to stop it. As the number of slaughtered buffalo climbs due to their actions, these same decision-makers toss up their hands in mock helplessness. However, they are both responsible and they can both take immediate and necessary actions today to end this senseless war against wild buffalo. These decision-makers work collaboratively within the Interagency Bison Management Plan to devise and carry out agreed upon management schemes, and their deceptive, pass-the-buck strategy of shirking of responsibility is pushing the country’s last continuously wild buffalo herds towards the brink of extinction.

Please continue to make these calls! If you are outside of the U.S., send letters and emails. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses.
Phone calls are the most effective because they cannot be ignored.

  • Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk, #307-344-2002
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock #406-444-3111

Here are some important points to consider – No agency’s hands are tied!

  • The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) is an *adaptive* plan that allows for change, and part of its goal is to “maintain a wild, free-ranging population of bison.” Capture-for-slaughter is not set in stone. Each agency consents (agrees) to any management strategy set forth in the IBMP, meaning that Yellowstone could object to capture-for-slaughter. Any agency, at any time, can pull out of the IBMP.
  • The Interagency Bison Management Plan has expired, and a new plan is now being considered. Yellowstone and Montana need to endorse a plan that respects wild bison like wild elk in Montana.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock can issue an executive order to stop Yellowstone’s slaughter. He has done so in the past, as recently as this winter, and can do it again at any time.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock can take action to repeal state law MCA 81-2-120 to remove the authority of the Montana Department of Livestock over wild bison when they migrate into Montana.
  • Montana’s livestock industry is a vocal minority. Nearly 75% of Montanans have repeatedly expressed that they want wild, migratory buffalo to be restored in their native Montana.
  • Wild bison are not overpopulated. In fact, they are ecologically extinct throughout their native range. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature have classified the American buffalo as “threatened with near extinction” while the state of Montana recognizes wild, migratory bison as “vulnerable to global extinction.”
  • Wild bison have never transmitted the cattle bacteria brucellosis back to cattle. Only under human-manipulated conditions have any such transmissions occurred. Elk, who are free to roam as they please, have been implicated numerous times in brucellosis transmissions to livestock in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

The one thing — the most important thing — that is never considered by decision-makers is the buffalo’s perspective. This failure enables the human managers responsible for the slaughter to make the decisions they make and carry out the abuses that they do. Wild buffalo have walked the earth for tens of thousands of years. The planet chose them, through millions of years of evolution, to be the creators and caretakers of the grasslands and prairies. The buffalo are our elders, our relatives on this earth. They are not some presence who has suddenly appeared and become a “problem” that humans must manage to death. They do not make mistakes. Humans do. Buffalo were chosen for the job that they do: walking the earth, gently eating the grass, tilling the soil, carrying the seeds, fertilizing the earth, creating habitats for other species, awakening water underground in the aquifers to help bring the rains, and to offer their abundant bodies as food and nourishment for not just humans, but for other predators and scavengers alike–for the land herself. They possess ancient wisdom that has been carried through their memories and blood lines since buffalo time began. They adopt orphans. They mourn the dead. They carry their young in their wombs for nine months. They teach the young. They care for the elderly. They play. They become frightened. They find comfort. They tend to each other. They teach us to be family. They want to live. Once upon a time we listened to them. We have forgotten to listen. The people who cause the buffalo so much suffering have become deaf and blind to their teachings. They have to, or they could not do what they do. But the buffalo are still here, still sharing their wisdom, still offering themselves. But the buffalo have that kind of patience, if they can survive this human culture, they will be there waiting for us to catch up.

WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!

http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/yellowstone-montana-can-stop-the-slaughter-today

‘Stop the Yellowstone Massacre’: Group Puts Up Billboards Urging End to Bison Slaughter

as published on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“The most recent update from Yellowstone National Park said that 179 bison had been sent to slaughter….”

photo by Rachel Leathe

photo by Rachel Leathe

Drivers heading south from Four Corners on Highway 191 will now zip past a billboard with a gory scene and a simple message: dead bison, lying in a pool of blood underneath block letters asking people to call Montana’s governor and tell him to “Stop the Yellowstone Massacre.”

The billboard is one of two that the Alliance for the Wild Rockies bought, the other being in Helena. Steve Kelly, a board member for Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the artist who painted the picture, said they hope people will see the signs and pressure Montana Gov. Steve Bullock into blocking the annual shipping of Yellowstone bison to slaughter for the year.

“It’s a horrendous thing,” Kelly said. “He’s the one who has the power to stop it.”

The signs went up this week, arriving after hundreds of bison have already been sent to slaughterhouses and while another few hundred wait their turn. Alliance for the Wild Rockies is one of several environmental groups that oppose shipping bison to slaughter, a practice government officials consider necessary to meet population reduction goals each year.

“The National Park Service needs to address bison overpopulation in Yellowstone National Park,” said Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel in an emailed statement.

The culling of Yellowstone’s bison herd happens because of a 17-year-old management plan rooted in fears of the disease brucellosis. Brucellosis can cause animals to abort their calves, and the livestock industry worries that if bison are allowed to roam farther outside of the park that the disease might be spread to cattle herds, though no case of bison transmitting the disease to cattle has been documented in the wild.…(CONTINUED)

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/stop-the-yellowstone-massacre-group-puts-up-billboards-urging-end/article_1015b71c-c816-542f-835f-b7b4c933c5bb.html

Don’t Slaughter Montana’s Bison

article by George Wuerthner

“As most of our seasoned readers are aware, the main thrust of SFTHH is to bring to the forefront the plight of our American equines be they domestic or wild.  But while being tuned into the misconduct of out of control government agencies we cannot help but be aware of the cruelty rained down upon other wild species such as the Bison, Wolves, Bears, Cougar and even Coyotes.  What is happening to yet another 4 legged treasure, the Bison, is unexcusable and a often witnessed example of government thinking with their pocketbook and not listening to the wishes of the citizens.  Today George Wuerthner shares more information and ammunition in the fight to save the bison.  We applaud his expertise and will move forward as suggested.  Keep the faith, my friends.” ~ R.T.


“Welfare Ranchers go after yet another native wild species…”

bison-slaughterThe Louvre Museum in France houses some of the most famous art works in the world, including paintings by such famous artists as Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

What would you think if you heard the famous Louvre Museum began to throw out and burn in the streets these priceless masterpieces saying they needed to make room for the remaining art work?

How do you think the art world would respond if they suggested that a way to save the art was for the museum to build another wing to house the paintings or even give the paintings to other museums who would gladly accept them?

But instead of following such sensible advice, the French government prohibited expansion of the museum or even the transport of the world’s heritage to other museums and argued the only solution they would considered was to burn paintings? I’m certain it would be an international scandal.

But this is exactly what the Montana government is doing by the senseless slaughter of our national mammal —Yellowstone’s genetically unique and wild bison. These bison are a global heritage that the state of Montana is treating as if they are expendable and valueless asset.

Even the paintings by art masters are not as priceless as the genetically pure Yellowstone bison that are a consequence of a long line of evolution, yet Montana is treating these magnificent beasts as if they were vermin.

Worse, the justification for this butchery is flawed. One excuse is that the livestock industry is threatened by brucellosis, a disease that can cause abortions in livestock. The other major reason given for rounding up bison and slaughtering them is some assert there are too many animals for the park.

Both are questionable assertions, but even if they were valid arguments, there are viable solutions that do not require the destruction of these animals.

Fact: there is no documented transmission of brucellosis from wild bison to livestock. The only examples of wildlife transmission to cattle is the result of elk, not bison.

Fact: Yellowstone’s bison are genetically unique. Most bison herds in the United States have cattle genes mixed into their genome, but Yellowstone’s bison are one of the few genetically pure populations.

Fact: There is an abundance of public land on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest and other state and federal lands outside of Yellowstone National Park where bison could winter or even live year-round.

Fact: There are other large blocks of public land within the historic range of bison that could support herds such as Montana’s Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming’s Red Desert, and the Vermillion Basin of Colorado.

Fact: There are numerous Indian tribes that wish to start or augment their own bison herds if only Montana would allow them to be transported.

Fact: Montana’s livestock industry will not lose its brucellosis free status simply because one or two herds are infected.

Fact: There are brucellosis vaccines that are available free of charge to ranchers that can reduce the chances of infection.

Fact: The only way that cattle can become infected with brucellosis is if they consume or lick an aborted bison fetus. This must occur before the bacteria dies or the fetus is consumed by scavengers like ravens, coyotes, and magpies.

Fact: Even if in theory bison cows could abort and transmit the disease to livestock, bison bulls and calves cannot transmit the disease, yet they make up a high percentage of the animals being slaughtered.

Fact: There is simply no scientific or even legitimate rationale for the continued slaughter of this priceless wildlife legacy. The real reason our collective patrimony is being destroyed due to the intransigence of the livestock industry.

Please call or write Governor Bullock and Montana’s Congressional delegation and ask them to work for a solution that treats Yellowstone’s wild bison as the priceless and precious global inheritance they represent.

George Wuerthner is an ecologist who has published 38 books. He divides his time between Bend, Oregon, and Livingston, Montana.

Hundreds of Bison Sent to Slaughter Over Tribes’ Objections

Source: Multiple

Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure said state and federal officials “slapped the Fort Peck tribes in the face” by not using the facility.

Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday started shipping hundreds of wild bison to slaughter for disease control, as a quarantine facility on a Montana Indian reservation that could help spare many of the animals sat empty due to a political dispute.

Fifteen female bison initially slated for quarantine on the Fort Peck Reservation were instead loaded onto trailers near the town of a Gardiner, Montana and sent to slaughter. Hundreds more will be shipped in coming days and weeks, park officials said.

More than 400 bison, also known as buffalo, have been captured this winter attempting to migrate out of the snow-covered park to lower elevations in Montana in search of food. More animals are expected to be captured and shipped to slaughter through March.

Fort Peck’s Assiniboine and Sioux tribes built their quarantine facility to house up to 300 animals in hopes of using it to establish new herds across the U.S with Yellowstone’s genetically pure bison.

Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure said state and federal officials “slapped the Fort Peck tribes in the face” by not using the facility.

“They knew we were building a quarantine facility. A lot of money and time and effort were involved in this and all of a sudden they throw a monkey wrench in it,” Azure said.

Montana livestock officials and federal animal health agents oppose transferring bison to the quarantine site because the animals have not been certified to be free of brucellosis, a disease that can cause animals to abort their young. Ranchers in the state fear bison could transmit the disease to cattle and would pose competition for grazing space on public lands.

No transmissions of the disease from wild bison to cattle have been documented.

The park and state severely limit bison migrations into Montana under a 2000 agreement intended to guard against such transmissions.

The agreement set a population goal of 3,000 bison inside the park.

There were an estimated 5,500 animals at last count. To reduce that number, park officials want to kill up to 1,300 bison this winter through a combination of slaughter and public hunting.

A Democratic lawmaker from Missoula introduced a bill Wednesday to the Montana Legislature to change a law that calls for the state veterinarian to certify bison as brucellosis free before the animals can be transferred to tribes. Rep. Willis Curdy, whose family runs a cattle operation in western Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, said he understands the ranching industry’s worries about brucellosis but thinks the tribes’ wishes deserve fair consideration.

“The state of Montana is continually getting very bad press for its policy in terms of the slaughters,” Curdy said. “We need to make a move in a positive direction, not only for the tribes but also for the bison.”

Hunters in Montana have shot more than 300 bison so far this winter. Meat from slaughtered animals is distributed to American Indian tribes. Many tribes historically relied on bison for food, clothing and other needs until the species was driven to near-extinction during the settlement of the U.S. West in the late 1800s.

Gov. Steve Bullock temporarily halted the park’s slaughter plans last month after Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said 40 animals once slated for the quarantine would be killed to make room in corrals used to hold migrating bison.

Bullock lifted the ban after the park, state and U.S. Department of Agriculture reached a deal that would spare 25 bull bison for future shipment to Fort Peck, once they undergo a lengthy quarantine at a U.S. Department of Agriculture facility just north of the park in Corwin Springs, Montana. That’s now down to 24 animals after one of the bulls was shot Tuesday when he broke his leg inside the park’s corrals.

To make room for the animals, federal officials will send to slaughter 20 Yellowstone bison that took part in a government research program at Corwin Springs, said Lyndsay Cole, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel said state officials continue to work toward a long-term solution to the issue. She declined to say if that could include future use of Fort Peck’s quarantine.

Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said the park still wants to transfer bison to the tribes’ quarantine and plans future negotiations to make that happen.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of slaughter as a first step toward conservation,” Warthin said.