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)
Recently I referenced unpublished data indicating that bison suffer from compromised mitochondrial DNA which could be exacerbated by government slaughter without any examination as to how it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 »
Yesterday the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks was out using a helicopter to capture elk with nets so that they could test them for brucellosis, attach radio collars, and implant vaginal devices intended to drop out when the elk give birth or abort a fetus. This is another example of how the livestock industry turns the table against wildlife so that they carry no burden.
Disease testing: Elk study aims to measure spread of brucellosis
By Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard.
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.
Northern Arapaho seek to restore historic link to buffalo.
By TOM MAST Casper Star-Tribune