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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

Wild Buffalo Running Out of Safe Places

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Source:  Buffalo Field Campaign

Buffalo in the Gardiner Basin, in the vicinity of Yellowstone’s trap. BFC photo by Stephany Seay.

Update from the Field: Wild Buffalo Running Out of Safe Places

Yellowstone is gearing up to capture wild buffalo in the Gardiner Basin. Park employees were seen putting out hay in the outer catch pens of Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek buffalo trap, and have opened the gate, in an attempt to lure buffalo into the facility. Three buffalo were seen in there earlier in the week, but, with the gate opened, they soon left. Winter is a difficult time for grazing animals, and when they see free hay, it’s something that is hard for them to resist.

Montana’s state hunt ended today, February 15, but there are still a number of tribes hunting under treaty right. If Yellowstone begins capturing buffalo in earnest while treaty hunting is ongoing, it will interfere with the treaty hunts of multiple tribes. In the past, Yellowstone’s response is that they don’t think hunters are killing enough buffalo. With a goal of killing upwards of 900 buffalo, with about 200 killed so far, Yellowstone is feeling a sense of urgency to capture and kill as many as they can, to ensure that Montana livestock interests are pleased. After all, when it comes to wild buffalo, that is who Yellowstone is working for, rather than the buffalo who they are obligated to protect. Yellowstone always claims that their “hands are tied”, that they are forced to capture and kill the last wild buffalo. They always like to play the victim saying that it’s Montana’s fault (which, in large part, it is), but Yellowstone is absolutely responsible for their operation of the trap, and for never defending the buffalo. They bend over backwards to do the killing wanted by Montana’s livestock industry. It is good to remind them that the document they signed, which became the Interagency Bison Management Plan, for which their trap is a tool, can be terminated by them or any agency, at any time. All they have to do is provide a 30-day notice to terminate this nefarious plan. That’s it! See the Executive Summary of the Final Impact Statement of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (PDF), page iii, the last sentence of paragraph one, where it states clear as a bell: “Finally, the agreement provided that any agency could terminate the agreement by providing a 30-day notice to the other parties that the agency would withdraw from the agreement.”

TAKE ACTION! Call Yellowstone’s Superintendent Dan Wenk and tell him to keep their trap shut! Remind him that Yellowstone’s hands are not tied, they can pull out of the IBMP, stop the slaughter, and refuse to choose to serve Montana livestock interests. # 307-344-2002

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

George Wuerthner, author & Exec. Dir. of Public Lands Media, to talk about the impacts of the livestock industry on the West (Wed., 11/1/17 on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

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painy

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