More Than 90 Bison Will Likely Be Sent to Slaughter Tomorrow

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2003

Ted Fellman, Jonas Ehudin (406) 646-0070

Gardiner, Montana - Yellowstone National Park rangers captured over 70 wild bison at the Stephens Creek trap near the north entrance of the Parkthis morning. As of this time, there are an additional 20+ wild bison being hazed into the trap. According to a Yellowstone Park ranger present during the capture operation, the bison will not be tested for brucellosis exposure and will be shipped to slaughter tomorrow. Agents with the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) assisted with the operation. As of press time, the Park's public affairs office was not able to comment on the operation.

Since the winter of 1996-1997 when 1,084 wild bison were killed, the National Park Service (NPS) has taken a back seat to the Department of Livestock as the lead agency for bison management activities in Montana. The DOL has spent over $3 million since 1996 on bison management operations that have killed 1,833 wild bison. The NPS is one of five federal and state agencies bound by the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

The plan has a $45 million budget for 15 years. This is the first time since 1997 that wild bison have been captured at the Stephens Creek trap north of Gardiner. This is also the first time since 1997 that the Park Service has been the lead agency in a capture operation. The Yellowstone herd is the only continuously wild herd in the United States. It is descended from just 23 wild bison that survived the mass eradication of the 19th century and is the largest remaining single population of genetically pure bison.

The Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's wild buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection. Daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on and document every move made against them.

Video footage is available upon request.