Seventeen Wild Bison Transported to Tribal Slaughter Facility
For Immediate Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 19, 2014
Gardiner, Montana - Yellowstone National Park shipped 17 more of America's last wild bison to slaughter this morning. The buffalo were transferred to the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) for direct shipment to a tribal slaughter facility.
Since February 7, 2014, approximately 87 of America's last wild, migratory bison have been captured inside Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap, located in the Gardiner Basin. Patrols with Buffalo Field Campaign, a Montana-based wild bison advocacy group, report that Yellowstone National Park has been luring wild bison into the Stephens Creek trap with hay. Bison have been captured without ever having left Yellowstone's boundaries.
To date, 37 wild buffalo have been transferred to the CSKT for slaughter. Five bison were transferred to USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, the federal livestock overseer, and the agency will use them for research in a highly controversial birth control experiment.
Tom McDonald, Fish & Wildlife Division Manager for the CSKT's Tribal Natural Resource Department told Buffalo Field Campaign today that, “The death sentence on those bison is not put on them by us, but by the National Park Service and the Interagency Bison Management Plan.”
As of this press release, 45 wild bison remain inside Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap. It is anticipated that the InterTribal Buffalo Council, a federally chartered bison ranching organization, will take captured buffalo from Yellowstone to tribal slaughter facilities later this week.
Nez Perce tribal member and member of Buffalo Field Campaign's board of directors remarked, “It is painful to watch these tribal entities take such an approach to what should be the strongest advocacy and voice of protection. It is one thing to treat their own fenced herds in this manner, it is quite another to push that philosophy onto the last free-roaming herds in existence.”
Yellowstone plans to slaughter between 600 and 800 bison this winter, according to park spokesman Al Nash. "We're going to seek opportunities to capture animals that move outside the park's boundaries," he said.
None of the buffalo that have been captured have left Yellowstone's boundaries.
The state-federal-tribal Interagency Bison Management Plan has set a "population target," of 3,000 to 3,500 animals.
“The population target set by the IBMP is an arbitrary number based on politics, not science,” said BFC spokeswoman Stephany Seay. “Yellowstone completed a bison carrying capacity study in 2009, which determined that the Park could sustain upwards of 6,200 wild bison just within Yellowstone's interior, additionally, there are tens of thousands of acres of public land surrounding Yellowstone that bison should be allowed to access year-round.
The current buffalo population numbers approximately 4,400 (1,300 in the Central Interior and 3,100 in the Northern range). 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 unique buffalo herd.
Yellowstone National Park has failed to complete a population viability study, which was designated as a research priority by the Interagency Bison Management Plan back in 2000.
Brucellosis is the reason used by Yellowstone to justify the slaughter of wild bison. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting the livestock disease to cattle. Other wildlife, such as elk, also carry brucellosis and are known to have transmitted it, yet they are free to migrate, and even commingle with cattle with no consequence.
Year after year, Yellowstone and Montana officials executing the ill-conceived Interagency Bison Management Plan forcibly prevent wild bison's natural migration with hazing, capture, slaughter, quarantine and hunting. Millions of U.S. tax dollars are wasted annually under activities carried out under the IBMP.
Buffalo Field Campaign is vehemently opposed to the IBMP's management actions against bison, and is actively pushing for habitat expansion outside of Yellowstone National Park. Bison advocates are currently pressuring Montana's Governor Steve Bullock to take a leadership role in influencing state agency decisions and approve an Environmental Assessment that would provide year-round habitat for wild bison in the Hebgen Basin.
The wild bison of the Yellowstone region are America's last continuously wild, migratory populations. Like other migratory wildlife, bison cross Yellowstone's ecologically insignificant boundaries in order to access the habitat they need for survival. During 2007-2008 more than 1,300 wild bison were captured in Yellowstone National Park and shipped to slaughter. Nearly 7,200 wild bison have been eliminated from America's last wild population since 1985. Bison once spanned the North American continent, but today, fewer than 4,400 wild bison exist, confined to the man-made boundaries of Yellowstone National Park and consequently are ecologically extinct throughout their native range.
Buffalo Field Campaign is a non-profit public interest organization founded in 1997 to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's wild bison, protect the natural habitat of wild free-roaming bison and other native wildlife, and to work with people of all Nations to honor the sacredness of wild bison. BFC has its headquarters in West Yellowstone, Montana, and is supported by volunteers and participants around the world who value America's native wildlife and the ecosystems upon which they depend.