A majestic bull buffalo was shot today on Forest Service land (Red Canyon) outside of West Yellowstone, Montana.
Two Gallatin County Sheriffs, two Highway Patrol officers, one Yellowstone National Park Ranger, six Montana Department of Livestock agents, two Fish & Game wardens, one confused buffalo and concerned activists and media were on site.
Mike Mease, a videographer said, "DOL agent, Shane Hedges, and Gallatin Deputy, Rob Burns, flat out lied to me and told me that no killing would take place today."
Mease continued, "They would not allow media or concerned citizens to get close enough to document their actions. It was as if they had something to hide."
The bull was a remnant of the Yellowstone herd that was decimated by the DOL's slaughter of 1,084 buffalo during the winter of 1996-97. He had been living in this area for over two months and was repeatedly hazed by the Montana Department of Livestock. This action makes a mockery of the Interagency Bison Management Plan.
"According to their own plan, every attempt will be made to capture and test bison that leave the Park," states Darrell Geist of Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers.
"Why this bull was not tolerated by the Montana Dept. of Livestock is another indication that despite whatever plan is in effect and regardless of the facts, this livestock agency has little or no tolerance for wild bison being on lands that are their birth right."
Montana claims that such measures are necessary to prevent bison from transmitting brucellosis to cattle and plans to spend over 45 million dollars at taxpayer expense in the next 15 years to haze, capture, test and slaughter bison on public lands.
While Montana insists that bison are a threat to cattle and the state's brucellosis-free status, there has never been a documented case of transmission from bison to cattle in a natural setting.
Bison, elk and cattle have co-mingled for over 40 years in Jackson, Wyoming without one documented case of brucellosis transmission from native wildlife to domestic livestock.
Mease stated, "Montana continues to capture and kill these animals because they have no tolerance for bison in the state. The real reason for the slaughter is rooted in a bureaucratic power struggle for control of public lands."
"The only losers are wildlife, the American public, and the local economy."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Mease (Ph. 406-646-0070) is a Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer. Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers defend the buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection.
BFC is the only group working in the field every day, 365 days a year, to document and stop the slaghter of Yellowstone's wild buffalo.
Contributions to BFC are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and support their aggressive, front line volunteer campaign.