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This Winter: More Attacks Being Planned Against Wild Buffalo of Yellowstone National Park
by George Cadman (spittlebugs [at]
Tuesday Dec 18th, 2007 5:31 PM
In early December, members of the Buffalo Field Campaign met with Yellowstone National Park administrators and also attended the Interagency Bison Management Plan open house. At both meetings the news from the agencies wasn't good. BFC was told that it will likely be a very bad winter the buffalo.
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George Cadman of Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.1 FM interviews Stephanie Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign about the latest news on wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park in Montana.

From a recent BFC update, "One of the reasons given by the government agencies is the increased paranoia instilled in Montana's cattle producers since brucellosis was detected in a Montana cattle herd last spring. While it is widely known that wild buffalo were not responsible for this transmission, and while there is no substantial evidence that the source wasn't domestic cattle, the cattle industry is looking to blame Yellowstone wildlife, in particular the elk and buffalo. The industry fails to take responsibility for bringing brucellosis to this continent and infecting native wildlife.

The agencies are also prepared to heavily haze, capture and slaughter buffalo this year based on Yellowstone's estimate of 4,700 individuals. Though Yellowstone biologists have stated time and again that the Park could sustain well over 5,000 buffalo, the Interagency Bison misManagement Plan's politically derived population cap for wild buffalo living in Yellowstone is 3,000. Based on this, the agencies could capture and kill upwards of 1,700 buffalo. It is a sad day when a sacred keystone species that once numbered in the tens of millions and has been reduced to an island population of fewer than 5,000 is deemed "overpopulated." It is an even sadder day when the agencies who are responsible for conserving and protecting wildlife cow-tow to the economic interests of the cattle industry and sacrifice native wildlife in the process.
Yellowstone National Park, the Montana Department of Livestock and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks have all made it perfectly clear that once the buffalo hunt is over on February 15, hazing, capture and slaughter will begin in earnest. It is very difficult to have such a warning of impending doom.

One positive thing these agencies could do, at least on the western boundary of Yellowstone, is to let the wild buffalo have the Horse Butte Peninsula. Horse Butte is now completely cattle-free, and there is absolutely no excuse for the agencies to insist on capturing and killing wild buffalo for accessing this land. These agencies base decisions on the assumption that cattle-based economics outweigh the interests and integrity of wildlife and wild places. We must raise our voices and let them know they are wrong!"

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by BFC & Back from the Brink Productions
Wednesday Dec 19th, 2007 1:22 PM
by via BFC
Wednesday Dec 19th, 2007 1:45 PM
Short Term:
Buffalo must be recognized in Montana as a valued and recovered native wildlife species.

Trained wildlife professionals without conflict of interest should manage wild buffalo; they should not be managed by the state livestock agency.

Buffalo must be given full access to all suitable habitat in Montana within the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) at all times of the year.

The Montana Department of Livestock must develop brucellosis-proof management plans for all domestic cattle that continue to graze in the GYA including the provision of wildlife proof fencing if necessary.

Governor Schweitzer, together with the governors of Idaho and Wyoming, must petition USDA-APHIS to modify the federal brucellosis classification system to allow more flexible management of wildlife and cattle in the GYA.

Ranchers outside of the GYA should not be threatened because those within the area choose to raise susceptible cattle near brucellosis-exposed wildlife without taking adequate precaution.

Native American tribes – especially those with a cultural, historical, and spiritual connection to the buffalo – must be included in all decisions relating to the management and recovery efforts of wild buffalo in Montana.

State and Federal authorities should develop an effective vaccine against brucellosis for cattle and mandate use within the GYA.

Public lands currently designated for livestock grazing should be reclassified to give priority to native wildlife species, including wild buffalo.

The current property tax structure in Montana encourages livestock production by providing tax breaks for agricultural use. Landowners who allow wild buffalo to access their land should be provided with similar incentives through the Habitat Montana program.

Underpass or overpass systems that allow wildlife to cross roads and highways should be developed to lessen the chance of collisions with automobiles.

Wildlife migration corridors must be created through a process of creative cooperation between public land managers and private landowners, to allow wild buffalo and other migratory species to migrate within the GYW, and eventually, outside of the region.

The difficult controversy over buffalo management today is a direct result of the transmission of brucellosis from domestic cattle housed within Yellowstone National Park to the native wild buffalo at the turn of the last century. Livestock producers and public administrators should ensure that cattle will not transmit diseases to native flora and fauna.

by Stephanie Munce
Wednesday Dec 19th, 2007 5:15 PM
Thank you for running this article on the Yellowstone Bison. The bison are amazing animals that are tormented by federal and state agencies. It is wonderful to have towns such as Santa Cruz care about issues worldwide and support the buffalo. The bison have been persecuted against for over a hundred years, and many people try continuously to make postive changes for these animals that cannot speak. Again, thank you!

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