Buffalo must be recognized in Montana as a valued and recovered
native wildlife species.
Trained wildlife professionals without conflict of interest
should manage wild buffalo; they should not be managed by
the state livestock agency.
Buffalo must be given full access to all suitable habitat
in Montana within the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) at all
times of the year.
The Montana Department of Livestock must develop brucellosis-proof
management plans for all domestic cattle that continue to
graze in the GYA including the provision of wildlife proof
fencing if necessary.
Governor Schweitzer, together with the governors of Idaho
and Wyoming, must petition USDA-APHIS to modify the federal
brucellosis classification system to allow more flexible management
of wildlife and cattle in the GYA.
Ranchers outside of the GYA should not be threatened because
those within the area choose to raise susceptible cattle near
brucellosis-exposed wildlife without taking adequate precaution.
Native American tribes – especially those with a cultural,
historical, and spiritual connection to the buffalo –
must be included in all decisions relating to the management
and recovery efforts of wild buffalo in Montana.
State and Federal authorities should develop an effective
vaccine against brucellosis for cattle and mandate use within
Public lands currently designated for livestock grazing should
be reclassified to give priority to native wildlife species,
including wild buffalo.
The current property tax structure in Montana encourages livestock
production by providing tax breaks for agricultural use. Landowners
who allow wild buffalo to access their land should be provided
with similar incentives through the Habitat Montana program.
Underpass or overpass systems that allow wildlife to cross
roads and highways should be developed to lessen the chance
of collisions with automobiles.
Wildlife migration corridors must be created through a process
of creative cooperation between public land managers and private
landowners, to allow wild buffalo and other migratory species
to migrate within the GYA, and eventually, outside of the
The difficult controversy over buffalo management today is
a direct result of the transmission of brucellosis from domestic
cattle housed within Yellowstone National Park to the native
wild buffalo at the turn of the last century. Livestock producers
and public administrators should ensure that cattle will not
transmit diseases to native flora and fauna.
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