Help protect and restore an endangered, migratory species: America’s last bison in the wild, roaming free on the land of their birth right.
Endangered species: “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” 16 U.S.C. § 1532(6).
Threatened species: “any species which is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” 16 U.S.C. § 1532(20).
Under the Endangered Species Act, a species qualifies for legal protection and recovery if one of any five factors threaten or endanger the species.
There is substantial evidence that bison are at risk of extinction. According to the best available science, bison are threatened or endangered in the wild by:
- Loss of range and habitat to cattle and human developments.
- Domestication and artificial selection.
- Federal management and state law.
- Ineffective and inadequate regulatory mechanisms.
- Rapid climate change, extended drought, and freezing snow may result in local extinction due to other factors above.
Any one of these factors could drive bison to extinction in the wild.
It is the “declared national policy of saving endangered species,” to “halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.” Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978).
How are species listed as threatened or endangered?
A petitioner must present “substantial evidence” that listing a species may be warranted. If the “substantial evidence” threshold is met, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service commences a status review of the species.
12-month status review
The agency publishes a rule in the federal register. The rule is open to public comment, and subject to peer review by independent scientists.
Is the petitioned action not warranted, warranted but precluded, or warranted? The decision made must be based “solely upon the best scientific and commercial data available.” 16 U.S.C. § 1533(b)(1)(A).
Action to list the Distinct Population Segment of Yellowstone bison as threatened or endangered
Buffalo Field Campaign, Western Watersheds Project, Friends of Animals v. Bernhardt Complaint (March 23, 2020) (PDF).
Buffalo Field Campaign, Western Watersheds Project, Friends of Animals Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Jan. 6, 2020) (PDF).
U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper’s decision, Buffalo Field Campaign v. Zinke, Jan. 31, 2018 (PDF, bench opinion)
In 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper struck down as unlawful, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 90-day finding rejecting our petition to list the Yellowstone bison as an endangered species.
In 2019, Buffalo Field Campaign, Western Watersheds Project, and Friends of Animals filed another complaint in court to force the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to comply with Judge Cooper’s order. In response, the wildlife agency issued a 90-day finding denying our petition to list the Yellowstone bison under the Endangered Species Act. The groups then filed a notice of intent to sue and followed through with a complaint against the wildlife agency on March 23, 2020. Briefing is concluded and a court hearing has been requested.
September 6, 2019
Conservationists blast USFWS Denial of Yellowstone Bison Protection
A Short Film by Sharon Colman
(A non-affiliated project and artwork to give the wild American bison a voice). www.sharoncolman.com/roamin