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Total Yellowstone
Buffalo Killed
Since 1985
(past counts)

Yellowstone Bison Slaughter
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Buffalo Field Campaign History

Buffalo in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are not protected on their year-round habitat. Yellowstone Park does not provide sufficient winter range for the resident herds of wildlife. Due to the deep snow, animals are forced to leave the park in order to find adequate forage for winter survival. When the buffalo follow their instincts and migrate to lower elevations, they enter a conflict zone where the politics of Montana directly clash with their survival needs.

During the winter of 1996-97, the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) slaughtered almost 1,100 Yellowstone buffalo when they crossed the arbitrary park boundary into the state. These killings, combined with deaths from the unusually severe winter, resulted in a loss of nearly two-thirds of the herd.

That winter , the state of Montana and federal officials learned that they could no longer kill buffalo with impunity. Buffalo Nations (Now Buffalo Field Campaign), a non-profit grassroots coalition of Native American and non-Native environmentalists formed under the leadership of Michael Mease, videographer and founder of Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers, and Lakota activist Rosalie Little Thunder, with Seventh Generation Fund.

Our daily patrols and grassroots advocacy made it clear to the DOL that they would be held accountable for their actions. Everyday we stand with buffalo who are outside of the park from before sunrise until sunset.

Historically, the buffalo was essential to the survival of the Plains tribes. Last century, Phil Sheridan recognized this relationship, and in a strategic move to bring the tribes to their knees, launched an attack on their very source of life, the buffalo. When it was over, 60 million buffalo lay dead.

With that annihilation still fresh in history, the recent slaughter of 1/3 of the wild Yellowstone buffalo is very troubling to tribal people. This is yet another genocidal assault on native cultures. As Yellowstone National Park celebrates it's 125th anniversary, Native Americans shudder as they watch history repeat itself.

Americans are alarmed that Montana State officials can attack our national heritage and show disregard for a species so vital to this ecosystem. In the midst of political and scientific complexities, one reality remains clear and simple-the buffalo are being killed.

We will help strengthen the tribal voices in the protection of the sacred Yellowstone buffalo. Buffalo Field Campaign (formerly Buffalo Nations)
Buffalo Field Camapign will also help tribal and non tribal voices unite together to speak out strongly for the buffalo.

Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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