Yellowstone and Montana are Killing the Last Wild Buffalo

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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.

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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.

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The coming of spring is beginning to benefit the buffalo, and we are thankful. The Gardiner Basin is swiftly losing all of its snow and the earth is beginning to turn green again. This is encouraging buffalo to migrate away from the vicinity of the trap and away from the boundary where hunters still wait. In the Hebgen Basin, west of the park, however, there is still a significant amount of snow covering the ground. It’s beginning to melt, and south-facing slopes are opening up, but with so much snow there’s still a long way to go. Buffalo here are making their living along creeks and rivers, eating the sedges that are exposed. Soon spring migration will begin in earnest, as family groups — hopefully by the hundreds — will make their way to their calving grounds around Horse Butte. BFC patrols will soon shift our focus to the highway, helping to warn motorists as the buffalo move through this important corridor to their birthing grounds. The Montana Department of Transportation has recently installed new 55mph signs for night time drivers, but without enforcement this change will not benefit buffalo very much. A few other mitigation measures have been or will soon be put into place as well, including new wording on three marquee signs that alert drivers to “BISON” on the road, as well as an incident alert for a mobile app to alert truckers and other travelers that they should expect buffalo on the road along this section of highway. These things will help, but safe passage infrastructure is the only thing that will make a real and lasting difference. Until then, and as we always are, BFC will be out day and night helping to warn traffic, trying to keep the buffalo safe.

Yellowstone & Montana Can Stop the Bison Slaughter Today | The Buffalo Field Campaign

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!

Read the article in its entirety at its Source: The Buffalo Field Campaign

‘Stop the Yellowstone Massacre’: Group Puts Up Billboards Urging End to Bison Slaughter | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

“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.”

Read the article in its entirety at the Source: ‘Stop the Yellowstone Massacre’: Group Puts Up Billboards Urging End to Bison Slaughter | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Don’t Slaughter Montana’s Bison

“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 …

Source: Don’t Slaughter Montana’s Bison

Hundreds of Bison Sent to Slaughter Over Tribes’ Objections | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

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.

Source: Hundreds of Bison Sent to Slaughter Over Tribes’ Objections | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Our National Mammal Under Fire: Bison Slaughter | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

by the Buffalo Field Campaign

“Here at Wild Horse Freedom Federation our primary concerns lie with the government’s full blown assault against our free roaming wild horse and burros on public lands and trust me, that in itself is a full time job.  But with that being said we are not blind to the similar plights of other fellow passengers on Spaceship Earth such as whales, dolphins, wolves, coyotes and in the case of this information Bison.

Right now, there is massive concern over what is happening to the wild Bison in Yellowstone and the information below speaks to this issue.  We share this story, not to dilute our work with the wild equines but to further demonstrate the abject stupidity of government be it local, state or federal.  It is a shame that the court system does not allow us the capability to sue such entities for the simple cause of just being “STUPID”.  If that were possible the courts would be clogged beyond imagination and I would be first in line with case in hand.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


The horror of what is happening daily to these buffalo families are events that could fill thousands of pages…

2017-01-26-02-003-mourning-bfcsesay2017800The very same government who declared the American bison our National Mammal with such pomp and ceremony is hell bent on destroying the last wild, migratory population. Approximately 190 Yellowstone buffalo have been trapped by Yellowstone National Park employees who wear the image of buffalo on their badges. These and hundreds more of the world’s most beloved and important buffalo are destined to be reduced to meat within the cold walls of slaughterhouses. Just this week, however, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order prohibiting Yellowstone from moving buffalo through Montana to slaughter until Yellowstone finds a “temporary home” for the forty young buffalo who have been held captive in Yellowstone’s trap since last February. These buffalo don’t need a “temporary home.” They have a home, the Yellowstone Ecosystem, where they roamed freely until last winter. While this executive order may stall the slaughter, it will not prevent it, and will likely result in the nearly 200 buffalo who have been captured for slaughter being confined in the trap for a longer period of time.  This is a game of political chess being played with the sacred buffalo used as pawns in an attempt to push a quarantine (domestication) plan through. Quarantine is not a solution, and does not prevent slaughter; it is part of the larger problem of control and manipulation of wild, migratory buffalo which results in buffalo being repeatedly tested, many slaughtered, and survivors living behind fences until they are reduced to meat or die in captivity.  Some quarantined buffalo have even been sent to zoos. Yellowstone’s trap serves a livestock model paradigm — quarantine and slaughter — and is an extreme danger to these wild gentle giants, the last of their kind. Buffalo who are able to evade capture by slipping past the trap face another imminent danger just a mile north of the trap at Yellowstone’s north boundary, and also along the park’s west boundary, in tiny portions of southwest Montana where so-called hunting is taking place. At least 185 buffalo have been stopped dead in their tracks with bullets. By the time you read this, that number will likely have risen.

he horror of what is happening daily to these buffalo families are events that could fill thousands of pages, and while we can’t share every detail, here is some of what has been happening to the buffalo:

The other morning we supported a solitary bull buffalo who was walking along dangerous part of U.S. 191. Following at a safe distance with our hazards on, we stayed with him to warn traffic. There is so much snow piled up on the sides that it is very difficult for any buffalo to vacate the highway, so on he went. Unfortunately, a group of passing state hunters spotted him too, and they immediately positioned their truck just ahead of the bull, moving at his speed, their exhaust blowing in his face. This part of the highway runs through Gallatin National Forest, so the hunters only needed to get him to move a few feet off the road in order to kill him. Their opportunity came when he got spooked by a passing vehicle. The bull jumped into the snowbank and the hunters — if you can call them that —  parked their truck (illegally, it turns out) and the man with the tag grabbed his rifle and post-holed though the deep snow after him. We mistakenly thought they needed to be much further off the road before they could shoot, and we told them so. They yelled at us, saying we were interfering, and the man with the rifle screamed “I’ve waited fifty-seven years for this!” and pressed on, trudging a few more feet after the bull who had moved a little deeper into the tree line. But the bull got away. At least for the moment. Authorities arrived and gave the hunters a warning for parking illegally, and asked us to move on. We were elated in thinking that this handsome bull who had struggled so hard to just walk down the road had escaped with his life. Disaster narrowly averted. Or so we thought. Afternoon patrols took over, and when they came home they shared the bad news that the hunter had gone after the bull again, shooting and injuring him without pursuing him. Instead he sat in the warmth of the truck waiting for him to emerge from the forest. How could the hunter anticipate where the wounded buffalo might go and how could he not pursue him? The bull did emerge again, limping. He kept falling and getting up, disoriented and badly hurt. He was heading down a road that leads to the town dump, where he could not legally be shot. Authorities arrived, and, because the bull was so badly wounded, the hunter was given special permission to kill him in the road. He took four shots at close range to finally end the life of this bull he had injured earlier…(CONTINUED)

http://buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/our-national-mammal-under-fire-act-now

gave the hunters a warning for parking illegally, and asked us to move on.

Source: Our National Mammal Under Fire: Bison Slaughter | Straight from the Horse’s Heart