Published February 23, 2018
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – As of this writing, at least 96 of the country’s last wild buffalo — our national mammal — are imprisoned in the Gardiner Basin, within Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek buffalo trap. These buffalo are facing a sentence of death by slaughter or domestication by quarantine, which, contrary to popular belief, also sends buffalo to the slaughter house. People often ask how long does a buffalo live, usually the first response is, “that depends on if they migrate into Gardiner or West Yellowstone, or not.”
In a press release issued on Tuesday afternoon, Yellowstone did not fail to point out that American Indian tribes would be shipping the buffalo to slaughter. Aiming to shift the blame away from themselves, while it is true that a few tribes have slaughter contracts with Yellowstone, the park is fully responsible for their own actions. It is Yellowstone who is bending over backwards to serve Montana cattle interests by capturing wild buffalo, operating the trap, forcing buffalo through invasive procedures as they are run through the terrifying squeeze chute, separating mothers from children, causing trauma and injury, and loading these sacred beings onto trailers destined for slaughter.
The only thing the Park isn’t doing is putting the bullet through their heads. Everyone working at Yellowstone’s trap wears the same buffalo-bearing badge on their sleeve. Yellowstone National Park put many thousands of wild buffalo through this torture chamber, and they have the most wild buffalo blood on their hands than any entity since the turn of the 19th century. In the public eye, they feign regret, saying that they are “forced” by Montana to kill the last wild buffalo because of a court order, claiming their hands are tied and they have no choice but to carry out these draconian acts. We do believe that there are many who work within Yellowstone, even some of those who work at the trap, who didn’t join the Park Service to kill buffalo and strongly oppose their agency’s actions. Oppose their own actions, even. But, inertia is a powerful force, and cowardice is comfortable. Yellowstone and their employees are choosing to do this. They have a way out, more than one, but they continue to make the choice to kill the sacred buffalo.
1. Call Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk 307-344-2002 and also National Park Service Deputy Director Mike Reynolds #202-208-6843. Tell them to release the captured buffalo, give 30-days notice that they are terminating the Interagency Bison Management Plan, and shut down the Stephens Creek buffalo trap.
2. Call Montana Governor Steve Bullock 406-344-4111 and urge him to endorse a plan that respects wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana, and to revise, abolish, or repeal MCA 81-2-120.
The post Update from the Field: Yellowstone’s Buffalo Trap is Open for Slaughter appeared first on Native News Online.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.