Mammoth Visitor's Center Temporarily Closed

For Immediate Release:
March 26, 2008

Buffalo Field Campaign, Dan Brister 406-726-5555

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park - Two West Yellowstone women, Miriam Wasser, 20, and Cat Simonidis, 22, locked themselves together around a post inside the Mammoth Visitor's Center in Yellowstone National Park at approximately 10:30 this morning to call attention to the Park Service's slaughter of nearly 1,000 bison since February 8. Upon discovering the women, Yellowstone officials closed the visitor's center to members of the public and the media, including reporters from CNN, CBS, and an independent film maker. The women were extricated, arrested, and transported to the Mammoth Jail at approximately 12:30 this afternoon.

In spite of receiving thousands of calls, letters, and emails from concerned citizens opposed to the bison slaughter, Yellowstone National Park remains intent on capturing and killing bison. As the women staged their action, Yellowstone Rangers captured between 30 and 50 bison a few miles away. Between February 8 and March 26, Park rangers have captured more than 1200 bison on the north side of Yellowstone National Park. While the government's official reason for the slaughter is to prevent the spread of brucellosis from wild bison to cattle, no such transmission has ever been documented.

In a statement Miriam Wasser explained her motivations: "Faulty brucellosis science and politically motivated carrying capacity figures used in the plan are no excuse for the hazing, capturing, and slaughtering of the last genetically intact, free-roaming bison population in the United States. This issue is black and white: the Park Service is meant to protect and preserve wildlife in National Parks, not indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of buffalo, or compromise their wildness by quarantining and holding them in pens. I am doing this to illuminate the wrongful actions of the Park Service, actions which must STOP!"

The women sent a letter to Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis asking the Park Service to withdraw from the Interagency Bison Management Plan and to protect, rather than slaughter, the bison the agency is entrusted with protecting.

3,208 wild American bison have been killed or otherwise removed from the remaining wild population since 2000 under actions carried out under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), as well as state and treaty hunts. The IBMP is a joint state-federal plan that prohibits wild bison from migrating to lands outside of Yellowstone's boundaries. Wild American bison are a migratory species native to vast expanses of North America and are ecologically extinct everywhere in the United States outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo Field Campaign strongly opposes the Interagency Bison Management Plan and maintains that wild bison should be allowed to naturally and fully recover themselves throughout their historic native range, especially on public lands.

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 native habitat and advocate for their lasting protection.