The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is composed of 11,000 scientists and experts in their fields, cites a number of serious threats to the conservation of plains buffalo, such as:

  • habitat loss,
  • genetic manipulation of buffalo intended for market,
  • the effects of small populations within conservation herds,
  • lack of exposure to a full range of natural limiting factors,
  • cattle gene introgression,
  • loss of Genetic non-exchangeability through hybridization between buffalo subspecies, and,
  • depopulation [killing] as a management response to transmission of some cattle diseases found in some wild animal species.




In particular, the IUCN states that the culling [killing] of buffalo populations is not an effective way to prevent the spread of bovine diseases, and they further state that this killing does (quite obviously in our opinion) pose a major threat to buffalo conservation.

Yet each season the slaughter continues...

Extinction of wild buffalo is a real possibility, and is our biggest concern. Buffalo are at extremely high risk of genomic extinction (think of this as “complete genetic pollution” by cows). Why? Because of domestication and human (market-driven) selection, both of which lead to hybridization with cattle.

This is a dire problem, because more than 95% of buffalo in the world today are not wild...but are simply commodities under private ownership. They are subject to agricultural and management practices that promote traits in the buffalo that make its meat more favorable by consumers, and thus industry.

Evidence of hybridization with cattle has now been proven in all major conservation herds, with the exception of the Yellowstone buffalo. As such, the Yellowstone buffalo are quite literally the last remnant of genetically intact plains buffalo.

These animals are truly endangered, which is why we have petitioned for their classification as an endangered species.

The beef industry’s quest to "build a better burger,” is quite literally the greatest threat to sustainable populations of free-roaming, wild buffalo.

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