Activist Occupies Buffalo Trap for Second Day
For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2004
Dan Brister or Mike Mease (406) 646-0070
West Yellowstone, Montana - 24 year-old Akiva Silver has spent the past thirty hours on a platform suspended from a 45-foot pole erected in the Horse Butte buffalo trap. The "monopod" is secured by ropes anchored to the trap's outer walls and gates, making it impossible for agents to capture buffalo. A banner hanging from the platform reads, "Bison Trap Closed to Protect Wildlife."
"Whether or not the DOL says they were going to capture is irrelevant.," said BFC spokesperson Mike Mease, "As long as Akiva is up there hazing is their only option."
In today's operation the DOL hazed 80 buffalo more than five miles back into Yellowstone National Park. Such hazing is hard on the buffalo, who are getting ready to have their calves.
Silver, who witnessed the capture of hundreds of buffalo by the Park Service near Gardiner last month, said, "I refuse to stand by and watch my government destroy the continent's last buffalo. These are public lands belonging to all Americans and the DOL has no right to slaughter buffalo." He went on to add, "Since buffalo are being killed by the very agencies entrusted with their protection, it has become our responsibility to protect them on our own."
The trap is located on the Gallatin National Forest in an area that provides crucial habitat for the Yellowstone buffalo and myriad other species. The Department of Livestock has operated a buffalo trap here since 1999 under a Special Use Permit from the Forest Service. The agency has used the Horse Butte trap to capture and slaughter hundreds of Yellowstone buffalo.
While the livestock disease brucellosis is the stated reason for the slaughter, there has never been a documented case of wild buffalo transmitting the disease to livestock. Since the Horse Butte grazing allotment was closed in 2002, there have been no cattle grazing on National Forest lands on the Butte, making any transmission of brucellosis absolutely impossible.
Since November the Department of Livestock and Park Service have slaughtered 277 buffalo, the most killed in a single year since 1996-'97, when the agencies killed nearly 1,100. In the past ten years the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) and NPS have slaughtered 2,778 buffalo in and around Yellowstone National Park. Buffalo slaughter is costing federal taxpayers more than $3 million a year.
The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) 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.