Buffalo Field Campaign: On-the-ground activism

Here are a couple of articles about the Buffalo Field Campaign and how they, and other groups are funded.  Contrary to popular belief BFC’s top paid people don’t make much money (trust me, I know this because I am on their Board of Directors).  BFC is also very efficient with its money and has very resourceful people working to maintain and improve its cars and property.  Most of its funds are spent on keeping people out in the field to document what happens to the buffalo and educating visitors to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park during the summer months.

Buffalo Field Campaign: On-the-ground activism.
By CARLY FLANDRO, Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

The Donor Dance: How green groups stay funded.
By CARLY FLANDRO, Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

Poll Finds Strong Public Support for Bison Restoration in Montana

Buffalo Bull © Ken Cole

In February the National Wildlife Federation conducted a poll of 400 Montana voters and found that they are strongly in support of bison recovery in Montana.  Particularly, 70% say they support recovery in areas such as the Spotted Dog WMA near Deer Lodge and the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge which covers 1.1 million acres in central Montana.

These results run contrary to the measures that the Montana Legislature has been to trying to push through which would make reintroduction of bison illegal or subject to the approval of county commissioners.

Among other findings, the poll showed that:

  • 63% of Montanans believe that it is possible to manage wild bison in much same ways as other wildlife species such as deer and elk.
  • 70% of Montanans favor having the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and parks investigate where wild bison populations could be restored.
  • 70% of Montanans favor allowing hunters to hunt wild bison
  • 72% s of Montanans support establishing a bison population at the 26,000 acre Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area, near Deerlodge
  • 70% of Montanans support establishing a population of wild bison in and around the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Montana.

Press Release.

Poll Results.

When Elk Fly

Lawmakers vote to keep wild bison off Montana land

…..and do it with a boatload of arrogance

John Brenden R-MT

Not surprisingly, the Montana Senate voted on a bill that would keep Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks from relocating bison anywhere in the state except for the National Bison Range in northwest Montana for the next two years. The Montana House has yet to pass any similar bill but there are many being considered.

Governor Brian Schwietzer has promised to veto any bills of this nature.

Senator Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, D-Crow Agency summed up what could result from this action.

“If the attack on buffalo continues, they will be listed as an endangered species. I don’t think you want to do that.”

To rub it all in with a strong note of arrogance, Sen. John Brenden sang a couple of bars of “Home on the Range” to the protests of Democrats.

If anyone thinks that western states aren’t run by the landed nobility you might want to think again.

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Update. Ralph Maughan on the teabagging Republican Brenden. Brenden Farms got almost $500,000 in farm subsidy payments from 1995-2009. That is about $34,000 a year.
http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A09372868

Over 15 years that would be an average of $33,152/Year.  Some might call this federal government hater a hypocrite, and a mean one at that.

Montana governor blocks shipments of Yellowstone bison to slaughter, suggests Park feed the bison

This is a strange turn of events.

Montana gov blocks shipments of Yellowstone bison to slaughter, suggests park feed animals.
Matthew Brown – Associated Press

Here is the actual executive order signed by Brian Schweitzer:
Governor Schweitzer Stops Importation of Bison into Montana for 90 Days

Feb. 16. Schweitzer halts bison slaughter. Bozeman Chronicle. By Carly Flandro. (added by Maughan)

Read the rest of this entry »

Greater Yellowstone Bison show signs of inbreeding.

Government slaughter could irreparably harm bison species.

Buffalo on Horse Butte © Ken Cole

Recently I referenced unpublished data indicating that bison suffer from compromised mitochondrial DNA which could be exacerbated by government slaughter without any examination as to how it will affect the already genetically compromised herd.  That information has now been released.

Historically, bison have gone through what is known as a bottleneck where the population declined to such a low number that their genetic diversity became severely limited. The Yellowstone herd of bison is derived of only about 50 individuals, half of which were brought in from other areas such as northwest Montana and Texas. In recent years, while conducting repeated culling – where greater than half of the Yellowstone herd could be killed either by slaughter or winter kill – government managers never studied how their actions affected the genetics of the bison. For example, prior to the winter of 2007/2008 the population was estimated to be 5,500. That winter 1,631 buffalo were killed by the government and hunting but an additional 1,500 died from starvation due to the harsh winter that they were unable to escape because their habitat has been so curtailed by the policy of Montana and its greedy livestock industry. This left only 2,300 bison, or less than half of the bison herd, the following spring and possibly irreparably harmed the remaining genetic diversity of the herd. Read the rest of this entry »

300 Buffalo Captured at Yellowstone National Park’s Northern Boundary

Those that test positive for brucellosis exposure to be slaughtered

The slaughter of bison in Yellowstone has begun in earnest. Today Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers witnessed the capture of at least 300 buffalo in the Stephens Creek capture facility.

It appears that 13 of the bison captured were from the group of 25 allowed to leave the Park under a $3.3 million deal between conservation groups, the government, and the Church Universal and Triumphant. Those bison were captured and taken back to the Park on Friday and another one was shot because agents said she refused to go where they wanted her to. This leaves 10 out of the Park on those lands with another one whose whereabouts are unknown. The captured bison also probably include the 62 which were released from the Stephens Creek trap on Thursday.

This deal was touted as a “major breakthrough” by the groups who supported it but so far it has been an expensive fiasco.

Generally around 50% of bison test positive for exposure to brucellosis and Al Nash, spokesman for Yellowstone National Park, told the Buffalo Field Campaign that all of the bison that test positive for brucellosis exposure will be slaughtered. The test does not conclusively show that the bison actually have brucellosis and culture tests done in the past, which look for the actual bacteria rather than antibodies expressed by the buffalo, show that the rate of infection is actually much lower.