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Update from the Field: Largest Buffalo Safe Zone Sold, Zinke Aims to Drive Down Buffalo Population

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Source: Buffalo Field Campaign

Buffalo Safe Zone Sold

Montana’s largest Buffalo Safe Zone has been sold. The former Galanis property, about 700 acres of lush green grass and rolling hills, was recently bought, and while we don’t know exactly how the new owners feel about the buffalo, the large “Bison Safe Zone” sign has been removed. The caretaker has contacted us to say that we are no longer welcome there, and we fear that this may mean the same for the buffalo. This is *critical* habitat that the buffalo from the imperiled Central herd use winter and spring, one place they are safe from any harm, and they are devoted to this land which is part of their calving grounds. The Galanis family — incredible champions of the buffalo — are devastated that they have had to let this land go. It’s a heavy blow to all of us. But, we still don’t know for sure how things may or may not change. Perhaps the new owners will understand the tremendous support and fierce loyalty the buffalo have from all the surrounding neighbors and others throughout the West Yellowstone community, and keep things as they are.

Wenk Forced out by Secretary of Interior Zinke

On the federal level, Yellowstone’s superintendent, Dan Wenk, has been ousted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Though wrongfully touted by some “green” groups as a “bison protector”, Wenk had, apparently, been in dispute with Zinke over the number of wild buffalo — the country’s national mammal — who should exist in the Park. The controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan, crafted in the interests of ranchers, places a political cap of 3,000 on the buffalo population. A number not supported by science, ecology, or any form of logic. Yellowstone National Park alone can sustain upwards of 6,500 buffalo, while the surrounding lands of the Greater Yellowstone country could support at least 20,000. For a population who once existed in the tens of millions, this is still a minuscule population size. Yet, Zinke — a Montana cattleman — wants to drive the endangered population down to a mere 2,000.

Zinke, a corrupt Trump appointee, is a known enemy of the earth, a strong champion of industry and corporations who has oil & gas, timber, mining, and ranching advocates salivating. It’s no surprise that, being from Montana, his attention would turn to the wild buffalo of Yellowstone with an aim to cause them greater harm.

For nearly 30 years Park Superintendents have played a lead role in slaughtering buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park. Some have expressed regret, like Mike Finley. Wenk is just the most recent of several superintendents behind the National Park Service’s ongoing slaughter of our last wild buffalo.

That being said, the reality is, Wenk has hardly been a champion of the buffalo. Thousands of the country’s last wild buffalo — the beloved Yellowstone herds — have been shipped to slaughter from within Yellowstone, brutally treated, hazed, domesticated, and otherwise harmed with Wenk standing as Yellowstone’s superintendent. For all the years he’s been in office, he has bent over backwards to serve Montana’s livestock industry, destroying imperiled wild buffalo. It has only been in recent months — after Yellowstone’s trap was attacked four times — and public pressure against the buffalo slaughter has been mounting — that he has started to come out advocating for wild buffalo to be managed as wildlife, and that the livestock industry should not be the ones to dictate how buffalo live or die.

Too little, too late. Actions speak much louder than words, and Wenk’s hands are covered in buffalo blood no different than Zinke’s aim to be. Not only that, but a 50-year wild buffalo domestication / commercialization program has been approved under Wenk’s “protective” leadership, which has already resulted in dozens of buffalo being slaughtered or confined for life.

Will it be worse without him as Superintendent? We simply need to grasp that this whole system is broken and we must stand in solidarity and fight back harder. Zinke has made it clear that the war against the country’s last wild buffalo — our national mammal — is escalating. With our sites aimed straight and true, we stand up even stronger for the wild.

WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!

http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/updates-2017-2018/update-from-the-field-largest-buffalo-safe-zone-sold-zinke-aims-to-drive-down-buffalo-population

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John Horning, Exec Dir. of WildEarth Guardians, on the war on wildlife and the environment (Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wed., 6/13/18)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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Stephany Seay, Media Coordinator for Buffalo Field Campaign, on the fight to protect the last, genetically pure wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park (Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wed., 3/28/18)

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Join us March 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm CST!

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Decades of Political Meddling Threaten GYE Grizzlies

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Sam Jojola, USFWS Special Agent (retired)

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Research Illuminates Historical Threats for Grizzlies in the GYE

The 23 years covert experience in federal wildlife law enforcement always reminds me to look deep behind the curtain of puppet master politics that often manipulate the strands of negative decisions that hamper long term protection of key wildlife species in our country and around the globe. Recent research has further illuminated past and present political threats of oil, gas, with alliances from SCI and the NRA that appear to be a multi-prong threat. This detailed 2014 report describes these alliances and how they can work to compromise key biological and wildlife resources:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IndustryInfluenceReport.pdf

Foreign mining interests are looming over the GYE. Google “mining opportunities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” and a host of articles appear. Gold mining interests have friends in “high places”. When states are left to take the lead in managing these interests, the “golden rule” will often apply. “He who hath the gold rules”, and ecosystems and wildlife will suffer by political meddling. Déjà vu all over again reminds me of my experience in the 1980’s in Nevada with foreign precious metal corporations and migratory bird deaths from cyanide heap leach operations.

Trophy hunting Grizzlies in the GYE could be the coup de gras with oil, gas and mining interests contributing to the “big picture” of multiple ongoing serious threats.

Recent court decision reveals flaws with delisting GYE Grizzly

The recent court decision based on a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States revealed serious flaws behind the Grizzly delisting in the GYE:

https://www.courthousenews.com/wolf-ruling-has-agency-wrestling-with-grizzlies/

I strongly believe the HSUS decision that affects the GYE grizzly bear final rule should require the Service to re-evaluate the delisting of the GYE grizzly bear population and examine this species as a whole across the remaining U.S. grizzly bear ecosystems. This court decision shows USFWS is acting in haste to separate listed species into distinct populations and delisting them. The GYE Grizzly delisting exposes the blatant hypocrisy of this bizarre and reckless strategy that goes against the long term protection of all grizzly bear populations. More

Please sign petition to rectify the heavy impact of livestock grazing on public lands

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photo: Western Watersheds Project

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION HERE.

SOURCE: Petitions.whitehouse.gov

We the people ask the federal government to Call on Congress to act on an issue:

Livestock Grazing on Public Lands Rectify the Heavy Impact

Created by T.B. on November 23, 2017

Reductions will address ecological problems caused by commercial livestock grazing such as:

● displacement of wildlife, reduction of wildlife populations;
● degradation is occurring to the land;
● transmission of pathogens;
● degradation is occurring to plant communities;
● native wildlife are killed to advance the interests of public lands ranchers;
● livestock are damaging to sensitive wetlands or riparian areas; or
● Ruminant grazing contributes to the nitrogen load in streams as well as nitrous oxide gasses also
a greenhouse gas.

Trophy Hunting Threatened Species Travesty

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by: Sam Jojola

Post updated 11/18

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  1. “The proposal is a monumental waste of money due to Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who has helped push five (5) bills from the Natural Resources Committee that would conceivably dismantle the Endangered Species Act over a period of time. The ESA plays a major part of wildlife conservation. It would make more sense to form a council to fight these destructive proposals that would destroy the ESA or have the Secretary of Interior request Rep. Rob Bishop to resign. If Rep. Rob Bishop has his way to “invalidate” the ESA, imagine trying to protect wildlife and regulate hunting. Dismantling the ESA in any form or fashion is destroying large fragile ecosystems at the expense of wildlife resources for future generations.”

 

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The more things change, the more they stay the same

On November 8, 2017, Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the creation of the International Wildlife Conservation Council. The devil is in the details and what will follow in days, weeks and months to come will shape this Council and their priorities. Since the Council involves aspects of conservation, hunting and law enforcement, I wonder if Council heads will be selected from recognized leading experts in those three areas of focus. I am particularly concerned how the Council will deal with the ESA’s foreign listed species and import permits that are mentioned in this press release: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-zinke-announces-creation-international-wildlife-conservation-council

I believe the creation of this Council comes at a very bad time given the recent news of Zimbabwe’s regime shakeup and the most recent proposal for the U.S. to lift the ban on elephant trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe. I hope now that President Trump has moved to keep the ban in place, that he and Secretary Zinke will consider keeping the ban given the current developing instability of Zimbabwe over the past several days: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/trump-puts-decision-allow-elephant-hunting-trophy-imports-hold-022152590.html

Five illegal Leopard trophies entering U.S. in 2008 detail Zimbabwe’s corruption

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Livestock grazing extremists obscure real-world solutions

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by Debbie Coffey

In my opinion…

We need to find a fix for the unhealthy populations of non-native, domestic cattle and sheep on public lands.

Imagine a proposal to introduce privately owned livestock onto the public lands of the American West. The owners of the privately owned livestock would successfully gain use of 229 million acres of public lands in the West. The livestock would be owned by a politically powerful industry that attracted a passionate following — people who love using public lands for their private profit so much that they influence the federal management of their privately owned animals so that they would rarely, if ever, be restricted by law. Some of them would be so passionate that they would take over and occupy government buildings for 41 days, and end up costing taxpayers at least $9 million, including $2.3 million on federal law enforcement and $1.7 million to replace damaged or stolen property.

The downside of these privately owned livestock would be that they destroy native vegetation, damage soils and stream banks, and contaminate waterways with fecal waste. After decades of livestock grazing, once-lush streams and riparian forests have been reduced to flat, dry wastelands; once-rich topsoil has been turned to dust, causing soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wholesale elimination of some aquatic habitats; overgrazing of native fire-carrying grasses has starved some western forests of fire, making them overly dense and prone to unnaturally severe fires. Not to mention that predators like the grizzly and Mexican gray wolf were driven extinct in southwestern ecosystems by “predator control” programs designed to protect the livestock industry. More

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