Exclusive Video Footage Available
For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2009
Stephany Seay, BFC, 406-646-0070, bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org
Mike Mease, BFC, 406-646-0070, mease"at"wildrockies.org
West Yellowstone, Montana - For the past two weeks government officials have been engaged in large-scale hazing operations, forcing wild bison off of their spring calving grounds on Gallatin National Forest, deep into Yellowstone National Park. Agents from the MT Department of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park and other agencies use horses, snowmobiles, ATVs, and helicopters to target America's only continuously wild bison.
Bison are often injured during such operations. Calves are separated from their mothers or chased to exhaustion. Pregnant bison, fleeing the agents, sometimes miscarry. Hazing operations disrupt the all of the area's native wildlife. At least two grizzly bears have been caught up in the agency's recent hazing operations. Wolves, moose, elk, Sand Hill cranes, bald and golden eagles and numerous other resident and migratory species are disturbed during hazing operations. The DOL helicopter flies above local housing areas, disturbing and upsetting residents.
Under the new Adaptive Management Changes to the Interagency Bison Management Plan, more tolerance was to be provided to bison along the Park's western boundary. However, the adaptations set human-crafted rules that trigger management actions before May 15 as evidenced by the hazing operations on Gallatin National Forest along the south side of the Madison River beginning in late-April.
"The Adaptive Management changes were designed to set the buffalo up to fail, with bison numbers, land-use timelines, and manmade boundaries that even the IBMP partners know are meaningless to buffalo, their group dynamics, and migratory instincts and behavior," said Stephany Seay, Media Coordinator with Buffalo Field Campaign.
Buffalo Field Campaign patrols have so far witnessed more than two hundred bison, including dozens of newborn calves and many pregnant buffalo, being chased for miles through pockets of deep snow, barbed wire fences, thick forests laden with dead-fall, fast moving river currents, mucky wetlands, and steep, sandy bluffs.
Today, hazing is expected to resume, lasting through the week and likely into June. The agencies' goal is to rid Montana of wild bison family groups by May 15th. Bison will even be forced off of the Horse Butte Peninsula where they should have year-round access, since there are never any cattle on the landscape.
"Buffalo are a keystone species that are needed on Horse Butte to help restore grasslands harmed by grazing cattle," said Darrell Geist, habitat coordinator for Buffalo Field Campaign. "By forcibly removing buffalo from the land, every plant and native species benefiting from their presence suffers."
Fewer than 3,000 wild bison exist in the United States, all inhabiting areas in and around Yellowstone National Park. Since 2000, under the Interagency Bison Management Plan, thousands of wild American buffalo have been harassed and killed, with millions of federal tax dollars wasted each year to carry out these abusive, superfluous operations. The purported excuse for the activities is to prevent the transmission of brucellosis, a European cattle disease, from wild bison to livestock. There are no cattle present in the area and there has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting the livestock-disease brucellosis to cattle.
Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, every day, to stop the slaughter of the wild American buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo and their habitat and advocate for their lasting protection.