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Over 130 Wild Buffalo Slaughtered in Yellowstone: up to 275 total wil be sent to slaughter

by George Cadman
Over 130 wild buffalo have been slaughtered by the National Park Service in Yellowstone. They have captured a total of 275 and plan to slaughter all of them. George Cadman of Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.1 FM spoke with Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign about the real reasons behind the slaughter, what they are doing to fight this and how people can get involved.
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Press Release Below


ADVOCATES TO HOLD WEEK OF ACTION AS YELLOWSTONE BISON SLAUGHTER CONTINUES
For Immediate Release: February 14, 2008
Contact: Buffalo Field Campaign, Stephany Seay, 646-0070

GARDINER & WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT: Wild bison advocates, including Buffalo Field Campaign, plan a Week of Action from February 14 through February 21. The Week of Action will draw national attention to the role of Yellowstone National Park and Montana in the harassment, capture, and slaughter of the last wild population of American bison remaining in the United States. There are fewer than 4,500 wild, genetically intact American bison living in the United States. Wild bison are ecologically extinct everywhere outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Since Friday, February 8, 169 American bison (or buffalo) have been captured from within Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service, under pressure from Montana's livestock industry, has been running the capture operations at the Stephens Creek bison trap located inside Yellowstone's boundaries.

View video of Yellowstone bison in the Stephens Creek Capture Facility: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/videoaudio/Gardiner2004.mov

Wild bison advocates are organizing a series of national call-in days to various federal and state decision-makers involved with the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

A public rally will take place at the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone, MT on Saturday, February 16, from 8:30-5:00.

"Yellowstone National Park is doing the bidding of Montana's livestock industry at the expense of the bison," said Stephany Seay of Buffalo Field Campaign. "These bison are our national heritage, a keystone species critical to the ecological health of native grasslands and sacred to First Nations. The American people want the slaughter to stop now."

On Friday, the Park Service captured 54 bison; on Sunday, 41 bison; on Tuesday 44 bison; and on Wednesday, they captured 30 bison. All will be shipped to slaughterhouses. According to Yellowstone officials, the 17 calves that were originally going to be sent to the Corwin Springs research facility are now instead being sent to slaughter. 44 bison were shipped to slaughter facilities from Yellowstone this morning.

These actions are being taken to appease Montana's cattle interests, who claim they fear the spread of brucellosis from wild bison to cattle. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting the livestock disease brucellosis to cattle.

"Originally the U.S. Calvary was sent here to protect the last remaining bison found in Yellowstone," said Mike Mease, co-founder of Buffalo Field Campaign. "How sadly ironic that millions of U.S. tax dollars are now being spent to kill them."

The bison were captured for following their natural migratory instincts and walking onto or near habitat that is privately owned by the Church Universal & Triumphant (CUT). CUT land hosts fewer than 250 head of cattle. Wild bison are also denied access to publicly owned Gallatin National Forest lands adjacent to Yellowstone National Park and CUT property. Gallatin National Forest lands were originally set aside by Congress in the early 20th century as wildlife winter habitat, as legislators realized Yellowstone did not provide the winter forage needed by ungulates such as bison and elk. In the winter months, grasslands in the Park are obscured by deep snow and bison and other wild ungulates venture to lower-elevation habitat where they find critical forage necessary for survival. Wild bison are the only wildlife confined to Yellowstone's boundaries.

"The Park Service needs to realize that they are responsible for protecting wildlife, not cattle," said Mike Mease, co-founder of Buffalo Field Campaign.

Federal and State actions serving Montana's cattle interests are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of wild bison this year and the death toll is likely to rise significantly.

Bison killed or otherwise removed from the last wild population during the winter of 2007-2008:
Montana and Treaty Bison Hunts: 112
NPS Captured (to be slaughtered/quarantined): 169
NPS Sent to Slaughter (Yellowstone North Boundary): 127
Highway mortalities (West Yellowstone): 5

This season's harsh winter is starting to take a toll on wild bison, who are finding it more difficult and sometimes impossible to crater through the snow to get to critical forage for survival. Snowbanks from highway plowing in the West Yellowstone area are making the bison's migration extremely difficult. Bison are getting trapped along highway 191 and are being hit and killed by vehicles.

2,299 wild American bison have been killed or otherwise removed from the remaining wild population since 2000 under actions carried out by the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), as well as state and treaty hunts. The IBMP is a joint state-federal plan that prohibits wild bison from migrating to lands outside of Yellowstone's boundaries. Wild American bison are a migratory species native to vast expanses of North America and are ecologically extinct everywhere in the United States outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo Field Campaign strongly opposes the Interagency Bison Management Plan and maintains that wild bison should be allowed to naturally and fully recover throughout their historic native range, especially on public lands.
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
View video of Yellowstone bison in the Stephens Creek Capture Facility: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/videoaudio/Gardiner2004.mov
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by Bison need to roam free
The National Park Service of Yellowstone has officially sent all 290 Bison they had captured to slaughter. And the Dept. of Livestock will begin hazing, capturing, and slaughtering even more next week. The Bison need any help anyone is willing to give. If you need ph #'s or other contact info for people who are accountable they are posted on http://www.BuffaloFieldCampaign.com . The BFC also welcomes all volunteers. This year will be the largest slaughter of Bison since 1997.
by via buffalofieldcampaign.org
actionweek_1.jpg
What a week! Thank you so much for participating in all the National Call-in Days! We really made the phones ring off the hook, and it's apparent by the reactions of the decision-makers we contacted that they are trying to hide from the shame of their part in the 21st century buffalo slaughter. They were either out of town, on vacation, hired someone else to take names and numbers, passing the buck, or shirking their responsibility in any way they could. We should all be outraged at their lack of responsiveness, and perhaps it's time to take it to Congress. Many of you already contacted your House and Senate members, and we encourage others to do the same. And, of course, keep contacting the decision-makers we called this week and let them know you are not going to go away until the slaughter stops and wild buffalo are free to roam! Contact info for everyone we called this week, as well as other involved agencies and your own members of Congress can all be found here:http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html

Our Week of Action also consisted of a rally on Saturday, the 16th (see Photo of the Week below), which was a great way for us here in West Yellowstone to draw attention to the buffalo slaughter for the Park's numerous winter visitors. It also gave us hope. We received a lot of positive response from all the tours that passed our "free speech zone" where we donned masks, held banners, chanted for the buffalo, and performed skits with amazing puppets made by BFC volunteers. We were approached by two media organizations, and were also very lucky to meet supporters that traveled from Bozeman to join us in solidarity for the Buffalo.

We must also thank the people who helped make this Week of Action a success. Here at home, Seeds of Peace joined us, cooking amazing meals for the many people who participated, and offering medical and moral support. Seeds is an amazing collective of incredible people that do everything they can to provide what the activist community needs. Learn more about Seeds of Peace:
http://www.seeds-of-peace-collective.org/

Also, the following groups were hugely instrumental in helping spread the word for our National Call-in Days, rallying their supporters to take action for the buffalo. They were able to get the word out to many tens of thousands of people. In particular, we are grateful for the efforts of the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, In Defense of Animals and the Gallatin Wildlife Association. We also thank the many bloggers who are out there, posting the information and helping to spread the word to save these special herds. Keep the pressure on! Don't let up until the slaughter stops and the wild buffalo roam their homeland wild and free!

THANK YOU ALL FOR A GREAT WEEK!

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* Photo of the Week

An assortment from our rally at the west gate of Yellowstone National Park. Buffalo advocates got the message to hundreds of Yellowstone visitors, and marched through town to draw attention to the Park's role in the slaughter of the American bison. Thank you all for a great day! Photos by Chris, Cricket and Cat.
http://gallery.buffalofieldcampaign.org/v/photo_of_the_week/actionweek_1.jpg.html
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