Published February 4, 2017
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Yellowstone National Park has captured nearly 400 of the country’s last wild buffalo. The world’s first national park intends to consign America’s first national mammal to slaughter, all in the name of appeasing the unfounded fears and deep-rooted prejudices of Montana’s cattle industry. Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s executive order remains in place and is stalling the buffalo’s slaughter. Unfortunately, it is not preventing their capture. We are asking everyone to call #307-344-2002 and insist that Yellowstone honor the national mammal by releasing all captured buffalo. We also need you to contact Governor Bullock and Montana and urge them to repeal MCA 81-2-120 and respect wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana.
As Yellowstone officials are busy trapping America’s national mammal for slaughter, those buffalo who are able to slip by the capture facility are being gunned down just a mile north of the trap, just across Yellowstone’s border. This so-called hunt is being driven by the same forces who crafted the Interagency Bison Management Plan: Montana livestock interests. Though some hunters have been unsuccessful because Yellowstone is trapping their prey, more than 200 buffalo have already been hunted. Hunting animals from a vulnerable and diminishing population on an incredibly crowded landscape offers the buffalo very little chance of survival, and puts hunters in competition with hundreds of others as they race against the trap. It is a recipe for extermination. While some hunters don’t seem to mind being part of such chaos, many are growing increasingly uncomfortable, if not disgusted, with the whole management scheme. The demand for more buffalo on a larger landscape is growing, especially from within the tribes. There have even been a few hunters who received tags to kill buffalo, but after visiting BFC’s web site and learning the truth, made the decision to not hunt. As this latest BFC video shows, Montana’s buffalo hunt is yet another means of slaughtering this national treasure.
There is something very wrong when every buffalo who migrates from Yellowstone into Montana must face either the rifle or the trap. Many of the buffalo who are being killed are the matriarchs of family groups. These are the wise elders who know where to find food, water, and how to navigate the land through various seasons in order to survive. They are teachers, leaders, and protectors. Such indiscriminate killing is having severely negative impacts on the buffalo’s herd structures, behavior, and family dynamics. Contrast Yellowstone and Montana’s behavior towards the world’s most important buffalo herds with that of Alaska’s department of Fish & Game and the people of western Alaska. Right now, they are mourning — yes, mourning — the death of “Buffalo 124,” a female buffalo who was part of the Alaska Wood Buffalo Restoration Project. She was illegally killed by a hunter near the village of Quinhagak. Her death is a heavy blow to the restoration effort because their numbers are few and her importance and valuable knowledge to the success of the herd and future generations is understood. She was known for her extensive exploration of the Yukon and surrounding areas, teaching other buffalo as matriarchs do. And here, in the lower-48, Yellowstone and Montana aim to kill these very same leaders to drive down the last continuously wild buffalo herds, who have survived here for for ages.