For Immediate Release:
June 17, 2009
Mike Mease, 406-646-0070
West Yellowstone, Montana - Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) agents captured three bull bison this morning in the Duck Creek bison trap located on private land less than 200 yards from the western border of Yellowstone National Park. The bison were loaded onto a livestock trailer and shipped to a slaughterhouse. They had been grazing peacefully near the Park border for the past several weeks on and around National Forest lands purchased for wildlife habitat.
The bison bulls were killed today despite 'adaptive management' changes to a plan agreed to by Montana State Veterinarian Marty Zaluski, Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson, and Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis in December 2008. According to the document and to statements made by agency representatives, bull bison were to enjoy year-round tolerance on certain lands within Montana "to manage their lower risk of transmission of brucellosis to cattle."
"This so-called adaptive plan is set up to kill all bison bulls who have taken up residence north of Duck Creek in Montana in the Hebgen Lake basin," said Darrell Geist, Habitat Coordinator with Buffalo Field Campaign. "The agencies say 'no bison bulls north of Duck Creek' at any time of year but this is where these bulls live year round. The bulls move west along Duck Creek through Lower Bear Trap to Horse Butte Peninsula and back again. If this taxpayer paid plan doesn't change, these resident bulls will be wiped out."
Today's slaughter operation demonstrates the DOL's refusal to accept sound science about brucellosis transmission in their management decisions. The buffalo were not tested for brucellosis before being shipped to a Montana slaughterhouse. There has never been a documented case of brucellosis transmission between wild bison and domestic cattle and bull bison pose virtually no risk of transmitting the bacteria. Wild buffalo inhabit Hebgen Lake basin year-round.
According to Buffalo Field Campaign Executive Director Dan Brister, "In the eyes of the agencies, 'adaptive management' merely means delaying the inevitable slaughter of America's last wild buffalo."
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 bison have been harassed and killed; with millions of federal tax dollars wasted each year. Wild bison have never transmitted 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.