This Winter: More Attacks Being Planned Against Wild Buffalo of Yellowstone National Park
On December 18, 2007, I interviewed Stephanie Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign about the latest news on wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park in Montana. Listen here
From a recent BFC update, "One of the reasons given by the government agencies is the increased paranoia instilled in Montana's cattle producers since brucellosis was detected in a Montana cattle herd last spring. While it is widely known that wild buffalo were not responsible for this transmission, and while there is no substantial evidence that the source wasn't domestic cattle, the cattle industry is looking to blame Yellowstone wildlife, in particular the elk and buffalo. The industry fails to take responsibility for bringing brucellosis to this continent and infecting native wildlife.
The agencies are also prepared to heavily haze, capture and slaughter buffalo this year based on Yellowstone's estimate of 4,700 individuals. Though Yellowstone biologists have stated time and again that the Park could sustain well over 5,000 buffalo, the Interagency Bison misManagement Plan's politically derived population cap for wild buffalo living in Yellowstone is 3,000. Based on this, the agencies could capture and kill upwards of 1,700 buffalo. It is a sad day when a sacred keystone species that once numbered in the tens of millions and has been reduced to an island population of fewer than 5,000 is deemed "overpopulated." It is an even sadder day when the agencies who are responsible for conserving and protecting wildlife cow-tow to the economic interests of the cattle industry and sacrifice native wildlife in the process.
Yellowstone National Park, the Montana Department of Livestock and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks have all made it perfectly clear that once the buffalo hunt is over on February 15, hazing, capture and slaughter will begin in earnest. It is very difficult to have such a warning of impending doom.
One positive thing these agencies could do, at least on the western boundary of Yellowstone, is to let the wild buffalo have the Horse Butte Peninsula. Horse Butte is now completely cattle-free, and there is absolutely no excuse for the agencies to insist on capturing and killing wild buffalo for accessing this land. These agencies base decisions on the assumption that cattle-based economics outweigh the interests and integrity of wildlife and wild places. We must raise our voices and let them know they are wrong!"