Over 60 More Buffalo Captured Today
For Immediate Release:
March 4, 2003
Mike Mease (406) 848-7414
West Yellowstone contacts:
Ted Fellman, Jonas Ehudin (406) 646-0070
Gardiner, MT - Yellowstone National Park sent approximately 47 wild bison to slaughter today without testing them for brucellosis. Over 100 buffalo were captured yesterday inside the Park at the Stephens Creek trap near the north entrance. A similar number of captured buffalo will be shipped to slaughter tomorrow. Over 60 buffalo in the area near the trap were hazed and captured today. The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) assisted with the operations.
Trailers with heavy police escort moved the buffalo through Gardiner this morning on their way to the slaughterhouses. Mike Mease, a Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) coordinator, was on the scene. "The Lamar Valley herd was almost completely wiped out back in 1997 and now these bison are being killed off again inside Yellowstone National Park without even being tested, " said Mease. "There are over 50 native tribes that have requested live bison to be introduced onto their reservations, and yet the state of Montana considers killing to be the only solution."
Since the Winter of 1996-1997 when 1,084 wild bison were killed, the National Park Service (NPS) has taken a back seat to the Department of Livestock as the lead agency for bison management activities in Montana. The DOL has spent over $3 million since 1996 on bison management operations that have killed 1,833 wild bison. The NPS is one of five federal and state agencies bound by the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The plan has a $45 million budget for 15 years. This is the first time since 1997 that wild bison have been captured at the Stephens Creek trap north of Gardiner. This is also the first time since 1997 that the Park Service has been the lead agency in a capture and slaughter operation.
The Yellowstone herd is the only continuously wild herd in the United States. It is descended from just 23 wild bison that survived the mass eradication of the 19th century and is the largest remaining single population of genetically pure bison. "An estimated 60 million wild bison once roamed this continent, and now 4,000 is considered too many?" remarked BFC volunteer Larry Godby.
The Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's wild buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection. Daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on and document every move made against them.