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Park Service to Protectors: “All these buffalo are going to die today, and there’s nothing you can do about it"

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2018

Contacts
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070
Mike Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070

Bozeman, Montana:  The two men who locked down to three concrete-filled barrels on March 16 (press release) to block slaughter trucks from entering Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek buffalo trap were arraigned yesterday at the Gallatin County Detention Center. Both were released from jail.

Coyote and Wolf appeared before federal Judge Mark Carmen, who presided over the phone, at the Gallatin County Detention Center. Coyote agreed to a plea deal, pleading guilty to two class-B misdemeanors: trespassing and obstruction, and must pay $1,936 in fines. The fines are to reimburse Yellowstone National Park for constructing a new road to circumvent the blockade and allow trucks to access captured wild buffalo and take them to slaughter.

2018 03 20 Wild Buffalo Defense Wolf and Coyote Press Release 800

Photo: Wild Buffalo Defense

Wolf plead not guilty on charges of a closure violation, obstructing an agency function, and obstructing a government worker. Wolf will appear in court on April 4th, in Yellowstone National Park’s Justice Center, Mammoth, Wyoming.

More than 1,000 wild Yellowstone buffalo have been hunted, slaughtered, or held for quarantine (domestication) so far this winter. Fewer than 3,700 buffalo remain in the country’s last wild, migratory herds.

Coyote and Wolf blocked the access road to Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek buffalo trap in an attempt to prevent more wild buffalo from going to slaughter and to draw attention to Yellowstone’s wanton destruction of the country’s national mammal, a sacred and keystone species who is considered “threatened with near extinction” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is “the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.”

In statements made in a Wild Buffalo Defense collective press release, the two men said that Park Service law enforcement “used physical force and threats of violence” to pressure them to release themselves from the barrels.

Wolf stated that the Park Service “used various tools,” and that he "couldn’t see what they were using. I just felt extreme pain in my wrists. I thought I was bleeding.”

Coyote said, “I feel like they were more than aggressive with Wolf. [We were] being non-violent, sitting on the ground. They had their knees in his back and were using excessive force, taunting us about how 'all these buffalo are going to die today and there is nothing you can do about it, we’re still getting by you guys'."

“Yellowstone’s actions towards these two men who were attempting to protect wild buffalo are abhorrent! The Stephens Creek buffalo trap stands as a monument to oppression and control over beings who were born to roam free, freedom that Yellowstone should be safeguarding, not prohibiting,” said Stephany Seay, media coordinator with the wild buffalo advocacy group Buffalo Field Campaign. "It is grossly ironic that Yellowstone is the one punishing these two brave men for trying to protect the buffalo — a job the Park should be doing.”

This Buffalo Field Campaign video, The Buffalo Trap, shows the horrific events that take place inside Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek capture facility.

Yellowstone has captured 750 of the country’s last wild buffalo, and have been rapidly shipping them to slaughter facilities, an activity that is strongly opposed by the majority of Montanans, American citizens, and people world-wide. Hunting has also taken a toll on this vulnerable population, with more than 250 having been killed along Yellowstone’s north and west boundaries. Bison managers signed on to the highly controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan set a quota to kill up to 900 wild buffalo this winter, all to appease the interests of Montana’s livestock lobby. With combined capture-for-slaughter and quarantine, and hunting, over 1,000 wild buffalo have been eliminated from the last continuously wild population. These agencies have far exceeded their goal.

“The fact that these Park Service police officers tormented these citizens shows their lack of respect for our first amendment rights,” said Mike Mease, cofounder of Buffalo Field Campaign. "These park officials are the ones tasked with protecting our wild buffalo, and their actions show me that they are embarrassed they aren’t the ones protesting and are in fact the ones with the blood on their hands.” 

Learn more about Wild Buffalo Defense.

West Yellowstone, Montana-based Buffalo Field Campaign is a non-profit public interest organization founded in 1997 to protect the natural habitat of wild migratory buffalo and native wildlife, stop the slaughter of Americas last wild buffalo and advocate for their lasting protection, and work with people of all nations to honor the sacredness of wild bison.BFC runs daily field patrols and monitors buffalo migration and documents all actions made against them. BFC is the only group working in the field, the courts, and policy arena, every day, on behalf of the country's last wild migratory buffalo, who is also our National Mammal. For more information visit www.BuffaloFieldCampaign.org.

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BFC's goal is to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone's wild buffalo herds, protect the natural habitat of wild free-roaming buffalo and native wildlife, and to work with people of all Nations to honor the sacredness of wild buffalo. learn more yellow 2

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