Park Rangers Capture Another 45 Today

For Immediate Release: 
February 24, 2004

Ted Fellman (406) 646-0070; Dan Brister (406) 726-5555

Gardiner, Montana - Yellowstone Park rangers continued buffalo capture operations in the Stephens Creek trap this afternoon, confining a group of 12 buffalo at 3pm and a mixed herd of approximately 33 buffalo at 4:30pm. None of the buffalo ever left the park.

According to Park spokesperson Cheryl Matthews, 26 of the buffalo captured Saturday tested positive for brucellosis antibodies and will be handed over to the Montana Department of Livestock for slaughter. Five yearlings and an adult will be held in the trap until spring and then released. The yearlings will be vaccinated with the RB51 livestock vaccine, ear tagged, and then released.

A recent peer reviewed study (Davis, D.S. and Elzer, P.H., 2002, Brucella Vaccines in Wildlife, Veterinary Microbioligy (90): 533-544.) concluded that "RB51 did not confer significant protection in the vaccinated animals. In terms of abortions and infections, the RB51 bison vaccinated with three injections did not differ significantly from the non-vaccinated bison."

While RB51 is known to be more effective in livestock, vaccination didn't prevent the infection of Wyoming cattle, who last month contracted brucellosis from feedground elk. There has never been a documented transmission of brucellosis from wild bison to livestock.

According to a press release issued by the park, buffalo management operations are engineered to keep buffalo "away from cattle grazing adjacent to the park." The closest livestock are located on lands belonging to the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT). Taxpayers spent more than $13 million on conservation easements and acquisition of CUT lands to protect bison and other wildlife in 1998.

Yellowstone is the only place in America continuously inhabited by wild buffalo. The park provided sanctuary to 23 wild buffalo that survived the mass eradication of the 19th century. The Yellowstone herd comprises the largest remaining population of genetically pure bison.

"Shame on Yellowstone," said BFC spokesperson Dan Brister of the week's events. "The park is supposed to be a sanctuary for wildlife, not a slaughterhouse."
The current bison management plan will cost taxpayers nearly $50 million. State and Federal agencies have slaughtered 2, 523 buffalo in the past ten years.

The Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's wild buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their traditional habitat and advocate for their protection. Daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on and document every move made against them.