* Yellowstone Resumes Buffalo Slaughter: Update from the Field
It's been a bad couple of days for America's last wild buffalo. On Tuesday the press was abuzz with news that Yellowstone National Park planned to slaughter as many as 800 buffalo this winter. What the journalists reporting the story did not reveal--because Yellowstone's public relations office kept it from them--was that Yellowstone was already actively engaged in capturing and slaughtering wild buffalo!
Yesterday morning, February 12, BFC's Gardiner field patrol was startled to see a livestock trailer leaving the area of the Stephens Creek buffalo trap loaded with 20 previously wild buffalo. The truck and trailer, bearing Montana plates and likely belonging to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), was escorted by two Montana Department of Livestock trucks and a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) truck. This convoy traveled north from Gardiner and then headed west on Interstate 90, en route to a slaughterhouse in Ronan, MT, where all 20 buffalo were (or are in the process of being) killed.
BFC quickly contacted Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash, who informed us that 25 buffalo had been captured on Friday, February 7, and confined in the trap for five days. After shipping the 20 buffalo to the slaughterhouse, Yellowstone officials turned the remaining five buffalo over to APHIS, who will use them as subjects of an ill-conceived contraception experiment. Today our patrol reported that an additional 30 buffalo had been trapped by park rangers, who baited the Stephens Creek trap with hay to lure the buffalo in and closed the steel doors behind them. It is likely that the park plans to slaughter these buffalo as well.
Yellowstone and its partner agencies have set an arbitrary limit of 3,000 to 3,500 buffalo on the size of the population. This "target," based more on politics than sound science, is meant to limit the range of wild buffalo. It does not reflect the carrying capacity of the buffalo's habitat in and around Yellowstone. The Park Service has even gone so far as to refer to any buffalo above this number as "surplus" animals, hence its plans to kill so many this winter.
The current buffalo population numbers approximately 4,400 (1,300 in the Central Interior and 3,100 in the Northern range). Yellowstone estimated the population at 4,600 last summer but 100 have since been killed by hunters and an equal number have likely died due to winterkill and natural causes. The Central Interior subpopulation also migrates north into the Gardiner basin and has not recovered from the last Park-led slaughter in 2008 that killed over half of the Central Interior buffalo. The government’s “population target” makes no distinction for conserving subpopulations in this very unique buffalo herd.
The current slaughter operations have outraged hunters, including parties from the Nez Perce Tribe, who have traveled hundreds of miles to exercise their treaty rights only to find no bison on the landscape. Meanwhile, only a few miles away, Yellowstone captures buffalo by the dozens, holds them for days inside the trap, and ships them to slaughter.
Please call Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk during the day on Friday and urge him to stop slaughtering America's last wild buffalo. We want to flood Yellowstone's switchboards. His number is: (307) 344-2002. And keep reading for other ways you can help BFC help the buffalo.
Read yesterday's press release:
* TAKE ACTION!
Tell Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk What You Think!
Please call Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk at (307) 344-2002, use the "Take Action" button below, and urge him to stop the 2014 buffalo slaughter that is currently underway.
* The Buffalo Need You. Volunteer or Donate Today.
If you have ever dreamed of standing with buffalo and fighting for their rights to be wild, NOW IS THAT TIME! BFC is in need of caring people to make this sacred sacrifice to help the buffalo. Buffalo Field Campaign invites you to join us on the front lines, here on the edge of the world's first national park, to defend America's last wild, migratory buffalo. State, federal, and tribal governments are in the process of capturing and killing hundreds of wild bison. They aim to reduce the already vulnerable population of America's last wild, migratory buffalo to a mere 3,000 animals.
We need more people to stand with us and protect the buffalo. Please, if you have ever thought about coming out we need help from now until the end of May. BFC provides room, board, gear, and training while the wildlife and wild lands provide incredible inspiration. Please visit our volunteer page to fill out an application or email our volunteer coordinators or 406-646-0070. Bring your passion and your ideas. See you on the front lines!
If you can not join us in person we could still use your help. Please use the DONATE button below to make a tax-deductible contribution to our important work for the buffalo.
Thanks for giving us the honor of standing with these sacred beings and please come experience it for yourselves, it will change your life.
WITH THE BUFFALO,
* BFC's 2015 Wild Bison Calendar: SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS & ART
WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS FOR 2015, so if you have high resolution photos, artwork, poetry, quotes, or interesting natural facts about wild buffalo, please contact Stephany for details.
Don't miss out on BFC's 2014 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendar! This is likely our best calendar yet, with absolutely stunning photos of wild buffalo in their native habitat, incredible artwork, and inspiring quotes, facts, and poetry. ORDER NOW
Thank you to everyone who has made our Wild Bison calendars such a huge success! This is one of our favorite projects as it allows all of us to celebrate wild buffalo 365 days a year!
*By the Numbers
The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,500 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild, migratory bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
Total Buffalo Killed: 117
Government Capture: 55
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Held for Government Experiment: 5
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**: 1
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 16
Treaty Hunts: 81
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to Research Facility:
Shot by Agents:
Cause of Death Unknown:
Total Killed in Previous Years*
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,355
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
**bison stolen from the wild and placed in research facilities (such as for GonaCon) have already been counted as being "eliminated from the population" so bison that have died in a government research facility are not reflected in the total.
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration
"We're talking about the last free-roaming herd here. It does them a disservice and is a disrespect to them that they are being treated in this manner."
--James Holt, Nez Perce Tribe and Buffalo Field Campaign board member
Please send us your submissions for Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!