For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2005
Stephany Seay 406-646-0070
Gardiner, Montana - This morning a lone female buffalo was shot dead in Yellowstone National Park by the National Park Service, near Gardiner, Montana.
The buffalo had migrated onto the Royal Teton Ranch (RTR), owned by the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT). In 1998 the American people spent 13 million tax dollars to purchase 6,770 acres of Church land, and to provide for a conservation easement for buffalo and elk habitat on an additional 1,508 acres.
“The public was lead to believe we had secured critical buffalo habitat,” said Mike Mease, of the Buffalo Field Campaign. “The money has been spent; buffalo should be allowed to access these CUT lands, yet they are still dying by government hands.”
“She was becoming more difficult and more resistant to hazing, moving out of the Park at night,” said NPS spokesperson Cheryl Matthews. “Under the Interagency Bison Management Plan we are required to maintain spatial and temporal separation with domestic cattle. She was becoming unhazable and resistant.”
“Just who does the National Park Service work for anyway?” wondered Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign. “Do they work for the interests of livestock ranchers, or the American people and the wildlife they are mandated by law to protect? Killing a buffalo to appease livestock interests runs contrary to their mission. The Department of Interior should replace their buffalo insignia with a domestic cow.”
National Park Service officials said members of CUT did not contact them with complaints about the buffalo. CUT’s Andrew Van denied any knowledge that the buffalo was ever on their land. When asked his personal feelings about a creature being gunned down due to the zero-tolerance of the Church Universal and Triumphant he said, “I have no personal feelings about it.”
Buffalo and other wildlife such as elk contracted bovine brucellosis from European cattle in the early 20th century. There has never been a documented case of a wild buffalo transmitting the disease to livestock.
“It is time for the livestock industry to stop grazing high-risk cattle in prime winter range of the Yellowstone buffalo,” said BFC veteran Dan Brister. “Governor Schweitzer has publicly stated that he wants to secure habitat for buffalo outside Yellowstone and we have already spent $13 million to do exactly that. And still, the buffalo continue to be slaughtered there at the insistence of the livestock industry.”
Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of the wild Yellowstone buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their native habitat and advocate for their protection.