Published March 18, 2017
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – More than 1,200 of America’s last wild buffalo have been killed this winter, and it isn’t over yet. Hunting along Yellowstone’s boundaries has taken the lives of more than 400 buffalo. Hunters are still in the field making kills. It’s a terrible time of year to hunt.
The buffalo — like other wild grazers — have used up all of their fat stores, and are showing ribs and bony hips, waiting for the re-greening of the Earth so they can again replenish their huge bodies. This is also the time of year when the long, harsh winter takes her toll, too. There will be many buffalo who will not survive into spring, but the government is not accounting for these deaths in their mad rush to reduce this most significant and vulnerable population. Further, hunters are still killing adult female buffalo who will begin having their calves in about six weeks. All too often, Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) patrols make heartbreaking discoveries of finding fully-formed baby buffalo in their mother’s gut piles.
Additionally, Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo — has captured close to 800 buffalo, all of whom have been or will be sent to slaughter. The trap is emptying quickly, though Yellowstone continues to attempt to capture. Recently, some buffalo have resisted these attempts, while others have not been so lucky.
On Monday in Gardiner, BFC patrols documented as five Yellowstone wranglers on horseback tried to trap fifty-five buffalo; all but one got away, running to the hills for their lives. The unfortunate mama buffalo who was trapped caught the attention of another family group of twenty-two. Coming dangerously close to the trap, they sealed their own fate as the wranglers, hungry to capture, took advantage of the situation. Hundreds of wild buffalo are gone forever.
BFC’s Mike Mease and Stephany Seay attended the second media tour of Yellowstone’s trap last Thursday, where we again witnessed Yellowstone park rangers, wranglers, and biologists doing the service of the Montana Department of Livestock as they loaded wild buffalo onto stock trailers headed for the slaughterhouse, then proceeded to move more through the trap. It has become business as usual for these buffalo abusers, just another day in the park.
Yellowstone National Park is not without significant power, but they have shown they are without courage. They can stand up to Montana and refuse to participate. But they don’t. Their cold routine of capturing, testing, sorting, and shipping the country’s national mammal to a horrific death — as they don the image of this sacred being on their uniforms and rake in millions from the people who come to adore them — has become just another day at work. They attempt to put the task of change on the public, shirking responsibility for their part in these crimes. While it is true that a current Montana law – MCA 81-2-120 — is the driver behind the cumulative mismanagement plans and practices, Yellowstone should not have the luxury of of passing the buck. The world’s most well-known national park has astounding influence that they choose not to use. Instead, they kill America’s last wild buffalo. By the end of March, this should all be over.
How You Can Help:
Please continue to keep pressure on Montana and Yellowstone. Do not ease up. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses. Laws, decisions, and management plans can be changed.
* Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk 307-344-2002
* Montana Governor Steve Bullock 406-444-3111
And contact your members of Congress to tell them that this must end once and for all. Congress holds the purse strings and can end the funding.
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