buffalo field campaign yellowstone bison slaughter Buffalo Field Campaign
West Yellowstone, Montana
Working in the field every day to stop the
slaughter of Yellowstone's wild free roaming buffalo

Total Yellowstone
Buffalo Killed
Since 1985
(past counts)

Yellowstone Bison Slaughter
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Endangered Species Act
Protecting the Yellowstone bison under the Endangered Species Act is
necessary to protect and restore this last wild American bison herd in their native range.
Sign the Online Petition

Photos by Seamus Allen 2007

The American Bison: At Risk of Extinction
The American bison (Bison bison), once roamed North America 30 to 60 million strong (Knapp et al. 1999). Today, less than 4,700 wild American bison remain in the United States, mainly within the confines of Yellowstone National Park (Yellowstone National Park 2007; Gates et al. 2005). The International Union for Conservation of Nature has Red Listed the American bison as threatened with near extinction.

Since the mid-1980’s agents from Montana’s cattle industry and the federal government have slaughtered over 5,000 wild bison migrating from Yellowstone National Park (Interagency Bison Management Plan) putting the survival of the last wild American bison at risk.

On August 15, 2007 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued a finding (PDF, 100kb) in response to a hand-written petition submitted by a citizen from Minnesota, Mr. James Horsley, (Download Horsley's Petition) on January 5, 1999, urging the government to protect the Yellowstone population - the last bison left in America - under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found that the wild population of American bison currently occupying its native range in and around Yellowstone National Park is a Distinct Vertebrate Population Segment. Buffalo Field Campaign has been circulating a petition for years to bolster public support for protecting the Yellowstone population - America's last wild bison - as a Distinct Population Segment. We encourage you to sign and circulate the petition and gather support in your local community by collecting signatures and submitting them to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Download BFC’s petition to protect Yellowstone bison).

Importantly, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acknowledges that Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the United States where wild bison have continuously existed since prehistoric times (USFWS 2007).

Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service fails to adequately consider wild bison's historic range that spanned hundreds of millions of acres throughout North America (Hornaday 1889). Under a policy announced in March 2007 (Download U.S. Department of Interior Office of the Solicitor opinion) that undermines the intent of Congress, the USFWS redefined how it determines whether a species is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” In it’s finding, the USFWS defined significant range only where bison currently exist: Yellowstone National Park and the Gardiner Basin, north of Yellowstone (USFWS 2007). Historic bison range be damned.

We the people have an opportunity to help the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service change their minds and reconsider their decision. The task before us now is to urge the wildlife agency to thoroughly review the bison’s historic range, what habitat has been lost and what must be recovered. We must - and we can - clearly demonstrate that the Yellowstone bison population and its historic native range are endangered and warrant Endangered Species Act protection.


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Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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