Hundreds of Wild Bison Leave Yellowstone National Park; Historic Migrations Could Result in Continued Slaughter

Buffalo Field Campaign. Press Advisory: March 31, 2003 Contacts:  Ted Fellman, Jonas Ehudin (406) 646-0070

West Yellowstone, MT - Hundreds of wild buffalo have left Yellowstone National Park in their spring migration to calve on Horse Butte.  The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) has already killed 13 wild bull bison that left the Park this winter and migrated onto national forests where no cattle are present.  The DOL also sent 231 wild bison to slaughter earlier this month that were captured by the Park Service inside of Yellowstone National Park near its northern boundary.  Last April the DOL killed over a hundred wild buffalo on national forests outside of Yellowstone National Park's western boundary.

Herds of buffalo follow the Madison River out of Yellowstone National Park to Horse Butte peninsula, almost entirely on public lands with no cattle present at this time of year.  Last year the cattle allotments for national forests on Horse Butte were cancelled due to insufficient environmental assessment.  The bison herds currently leaving the Park are mixed herds with many pregnant cow buffalo and yearlings, as well as bull buffalo.  The buffalo calve in April.

The Department of Livestock has spent nearly $3.5 million since 1996 on bison management operations that have killed 2,064 wild bison.  The Yellowstone herd is the only continuously wild herd in the United States.  It is descended from just 23 wild bison that survived the mass eradication of the 19th century and is the largest remaining single population of genetically pure bison.  Yellowstone National Park was instrumental in preserving wild bison in the early 1900's, but this month's actions undermine those past conservation efforts.  "An estimated 60 million wild bison once roamed this continent, and now over 3,000 is considered too many!" remarked BFC coordinator Dan Brister.

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 winter 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.

Video footage and still photos are available upon request, as well as a new 10 minute video (or mini DV) program, Shame on Yellowstone, which documents the recent capture and slaughter of 231 wild bison near Gardiner, Montana, inside Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Phone (406) 646-0070
Fax (406) 646-0071


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