Yellowstone National Park Bison
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Up to an estimated 900 bison will be slaughtered this winter. The culling plan calls for the majority of the bison targeted for death to be turned over American Indian tribes to be slaughtered and a small amount to be killed by hunters.
The culling plan is part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) to appease the worries of ranchers located in Montana who fear bison will become infected with the bacterial disease brucellosis, which causes miscarriages in cattle. The fear is the disease potentially could be transmitted to their herds.
The two tribal affiliates shipping bison to slaughter for the second year in a row are the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the federally chartered Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, which is headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota.
There is opposition to the slaughter by conservation groups.
“It is unthinkable, profoundly incongruent, that Yellowstone National Park and Native Americans would participate in the brutal abuse and slaughter of the only wild population of buffalo remaining in this country,” said Buffalo Field Campaign spokeswoman Stephany Seay.
“You think to yourself that this can’t possibly be happening, but the shocking reality is that those who should be the fiercest champions and strongest allies for the buffalo are instead betraying them by taking the lead in the livestock industry’s culture of death.”
IBMP affiliates are no longer only using the weak excuse of brucellosis to commit the large bison slaughter, but have now shifted their argument to “population control.” They aim to reduce the most important bison population in the world to a mere 3,000 animals.
Prior to the current winter’s expected 900 slaughter, the bison population was estimated to be 4,900. Yellowstone’s own bison carrying capacity study indicates that the Park alone can sustain upwards of 6,200 buffalo.
The Yellowstone buffalo are America’s last wild, migratory herds and the most important bison population that exists. They are the last to identify as a wildlife species and ecologically extinct throughout their native range. They’ve been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List for being “threatened with near extinction,” and even Montana designates the species “in greatest conservation need” with conditions “making [bison] vulnerable to global extinction.”
“Yellowstone National Park has been entrusted by the American people as stewards of this country’s last wild buffalo,” said David Martin, coordinator with Buffalo Field Campaign. “Stewards are supposed to protect and defend, not abuse and slaughter, so we can no longer trust them to do the right thing.”