Published February 23, 2017
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Yellowstone National Park has been filling up livestock trailers nearly every weekday for the past two weeks, cramming them full of wild buffalo and turning them over to tribal entities for shipment to slaughter. Approximately six hundred buffalo — from our own counts taken through spotting scopes set miles away, due to Yellowstone’s enormous trap closure, have been captured inside Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek buffalo trap.
Many of these buffalo were left for weeks to wallow in mud and muck, standing around in their own excrement as they wait on death row. Yellowstone has recently announced that they will provide media tours of the trap on March 1st and 8th, but since the announcement, shipments to slaughter have increased rapidly and the trap is quickly emptying. Yellowstone continues to fail to be transparent, refusing to disclose how many buffalo have been captured and providing slaughter information only every other week.
Last year Yellowstone authorities were caught telling a blatant lie to the public about injuries suffered by the buffalo inside the trap — which we were able to prove because we were there documenting — why should we believe what they are reporting and why shouldn’t the public demand accountability? The horrors that hundreds of wild buffalo have already suffered are only known to those who are committing these crimes against them.
In a continued race against the trap and in competition with each other, hunters continue to gun down or maim buffalo mainly along Yellowstone’s north boundary in the Gardiner Basin. Adult female buffalo are on average seven months pregnant right now, and many of the boulder-sized gut piles that are strewn across the hunting zones harbor buffalo fetuses who will never be born.
At least twelve buffalo have been wounded by hunters and later shot by park rangers as they fled one death trap to encounter another. Other buffalo have been shot by hunters, unclaimed and left to die alone, while still other family groups have been wiped out entirely, with yet other hunting events creating orphans who are sure to die without aid of a family.
The government’s lies about brucellosis threats and population management are simply a cover up for the real intention behind these killings: to cater to the whims of Montana livestock interests who don’t want to share the land with native wild buffalo. Amidst the outrage of Yellowstone and Montana’s sheer wanton destruction of our national mammal — the last wild herds in and around Yellowstone — more people are coming together and pledging solidarity to help do what we must to end these atrocious acts against the sacred.
Many friends, old and new, came together for our annual Week of Action, which just ended on Monday. Folks from hundreds of miles away traveled from every direction to join us in multiple rallies and protests around southwestern Montana. The march through the Gardiner Basin brought strong memories of BFC co-founder Rosalie Little Thunder’s 1999 walk for the buffalo from Pine Ridge, South Dakota to Yellowstone and as we walked, joined by Rosalie’s cousin Phil Little Thunder, it sparked inspiration to make this our annual Rosalie Little Thunder Memorial Walk.
A very special event in Helena, Montana, on the steps of the capitol building where we were joined by indigenous friends from many different nations, who spoke strongly, eloquently, and also drummed and sang for the buffalo. Three Native state legislators join the rally and added their voices to the growing chorus of buffalo defenders, and all who pledge to protect the sacred.
Please continue to keep pressure on Yellowstone National Park and express your strong opposition to the destruction of the sacred buffalo (#307-344-2002 / [email protected]) and Montana Governor Steve Bullock, urging him to repeal MCA 81-2-120 and to endorse a plan that respects wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana (#406-444-3111 / [email protected]).
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