Is Gardiner, Montana, the Selma, Alabama, of Wildlife Conservation?

“On bigotry and bison management at Yellowstone National Park”-

It think this is a fine opinion piece in New West. Is Gardiner, Montana, the Selma, Alabama, of Wildlife Conservation? By Michael Leach, Guest Writer.

I kind of feel the same way as Leach.

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Note that Leach, who used to work for the Park Service, but longer does, has started Yellowstone Country Guardians. It is in our blogroll. He seems to attract enthusiastic young people to learn about Yellowstone.

Stockgrowers sue to protect non-existent cattle from a non-existent threat

Ridiculous lawsuit to show who is boss over everything and everyone in Montana is being heard today.

Montana Stockgrowers Association is suing to make sure bison are removed from the Horse Butte, which is devoid of cattle, by May 15th of each year. They would force the State of Montana to violate private property rights of those who live on the peninsula each and every year.

Cattle are no longer grazed on Horse Butte and there are few cattle grazed in the entire Hebgen Valley.  Even those cattle don’t arrive until late June long after there is any threat of brucellosis transmission.  Even so, bison are hazed, captured, and slaughtered by State and Federal Agencies at taxpayer expense at the cost of $1.5 million dollars per year to protect a few operators from a non-existent threat.

Stockgrowers sue over Horse Butte bison
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

A reminder of the consequences of this policy:

Open Letter to Gov. Brian Schweitzer:

Take Back Our Public Lands

Bison on Horse Butte © Ken Cole

Bison on Horse Butte © Ken Cole

By Tom Woodbury, Western Watersheds Project,

Addition by Ralph Maughan. This is also in New West. You can comment there as well as on this blog.

2008 should be remembered as the year of the buffalo. Over 1600 bison were slaughtered in Montana that year, about half of the last wild bison left in the world. This liquidation of wild bison is totally at odds with Montana’s strong conservation ethic, and is against our economic interest as well. In spite of this massive slaughter, Montana lost its “brucellosis-free” status due to repeated transmissions from wild elk to cattle. Also in 2008, the Government Accountability Office released a blistering report on bison management, finding no increased tolerance for bison, as intended by the management plan, and no accountability to those with a stake in how bison are managed, including Montana citizens and the many tribes that hold bison sacred.

The Bison Management Plan was adopted in 2000 “to ensure domestic cattle in portions of Montana adjacent to Yellowstone National Park are protected from brucellosis… and to ensure the wild and free-ranging nature of the bison herd.” It has failed on both counts. Read the rest of this entry »

Mourning the Loss of Our Friends

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Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
June 18, 2009

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In this issue:
* Update from the Field – Four Bulls Killed by Agents
* Our Friend Frog: BFC Celebrates His Life, Mourns His Passing
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

Read the rest of this entry »

Helicopters continue harassing all kinds of wildlife inside Yellowstone National Park

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Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field

May 28, 2009

In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Help BFC Help the Buffalo
* Ground the DOL’s Helicopter: Contact the FAA
* Traditional Prayer Ceremony on Horse Butte May 31
* Support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act
* BFC Needs Summer Volunteers in Yellowstone
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

NOTE: This will be the last weekly Update from the Field of this season. Updates will come every other week or as often as necessary to convey urgent news. Thanks for being with us for the buffalo!
~ Buffalo Field Campaign

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* Update from the Field

These buffalo calves, hazed yesterday inside Yellowstone, are struggling to make it across the Madison Rivers strong spring currents.  Some barely made it.  Photo by BFC volunteer Lake.

These buffalo calves, hazed yesterday inside Yellowstone, are struggling to make it across the Madison River's strong spring currents. Some barely made it. Photo by BFC volunteer Lake.

Since our last update, agents have been harassing bison every day. As I write, bison are once again being chased off of cattle-free Horse Butte, forced off of private lands where they are welcome, and off of public lands habitat where there will never be any cattle. Today, DOL agents again violated the private property rights of the Galanis family, using their helicopter, flying extremely low, to haze bison off the 800-acre buffalo safe zone. Buffalo have even been repeatedly shoved off of grassy meadows within Yellowstone National Park, deeper into the park’s interior to “make room” for the bison being hazed off of surrounding Gallatin National Forest lands.

Using U.S. tax dollars, Montana livestock inspectors bask in their assumed taxpayer-funded power while all the involved agencies cooperate, betraying the public trust and the wildlife and wild lands in their care, as they terrorize this unique facet of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Neither buffalo-friendly private lands, Gallatin National Forest, nor Yellowstone National Park are safe places for buffalo – livestock interests, including Yellowstone National Park, are seeing to it that buffalo have no sanctuary.

BFC documents Yellowstone National Park rangers hazing wild bison within the park.  Photo by BFC volunteer Lake.

BFC documents Yellowstone National Park rangers hazing wild bison within the park. Photo by BFC volunteer Lake.

Yellowstone National Park willingly plays into the DOL’s hands, ignoring their mission “to protect park resources unimpaired,” and allowing these atrocities to occur within park boundaries. Yellowstone allows agents on horseback and the DOL’s helicopter to force wild bison off the ground they choose to be on, right in front of the eyes of park visitors. They create hours-long traffic jams, and when questioned by park visitors they misrepresent the issue and act as if they are doing the buffalo a favor, claiming that if hazing didn’t occur, the DOL would kill the buffalo. But Yellowstone participates in slaughter as well as hazing, and last year, of the 1,600 killed, they were responsible for the death of 1,400 wild bison. Hazing can also kill, and it certainly causes intense stress and injury to the buffalo. Injuries have been numerous, and the overall condition of the buffalo we have seen has been deteriorating since hazing activities began.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hazing Continues, More Calves Injured.

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Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 21, 2009

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In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Complain to FAA About the DOL’s Helicopter Use
* Traditional Prayer Ceremony on Horse Butte May 31
* Join BFC on the Front Lines
* Thank You! BFC’s Media Crew Receives Laptops
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

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* Update from the Field

DOL helicopter hazing bison. Photo courtsey of Lance Koudele

DOL helicopter hazing bison. Photo courtsey of Lance Koudele

The Montana Department of Livestock and Yellowstone National Park continue to aggressively haze any wild bison in Montana. The sounds of the rotating blades of the Department of Livestock’s helicopter can be heard outside the media cabin this morning as I write. Just a few miles from here, on cattle-free Horse Butte and other areas of Gallatin National Forest, the buffalo are currently under attack by livestock interests. BFC patrols are with the buffalo, documenting all actions made against them. The scenes we’ve been witnessing are the stuff of nightmares.

Newborn bison calf. Photo courtesy of Lyle and Sue Wood

Newborn bison calf. Photo courtesy of Lyle and Sue Wood

Within a single week, at least four newborn buffalo have suffered broken legs or debilitating leg injuries as a result of government hazing activities. All injuries have been documented by Buffalo Field Campaign. You can view footage of last week’s injured calf. Be advised that these images are difficult to watch, but take inspiration from the mother bison defending her calf. We don’t know the fate of this calf, though the calf that was separated from it’s mother during last week’s hazing operations was reunited with her the following day. Unfortunately, during today’s hazing operation, another mother and calf were separated, and patrols are currently monitoring the mother as she searches for her lost baby.

On Friday the DOL chased all of the bull bison that had been grazing in the Duck Creek area, deep into Yellowstone National Park. By Monday, eleven bulls had returned to their chosen ground, and the DOL resumed their harassment operations forcing them into Yellowstone, through the Park’s grizzly bear closure area. Patrols documented bulls being shot with paint balls by the agents. This is a way the DOL marks the
Read the rest of this entry »

Bison on Horse Butte Mercilessly Hazed out of Montana

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Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 14, 2009

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In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* The Wild in Us
* Join the Front Lines
* BFC Media Crew Needs a Laptop
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

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Montana Department of Livestock Helicopter violating private property rights.  Photo by Lance Koudele

Montana Department of Livestock Helicopter violating private property rights. Photo by Lance Koudele

* Update from the Field

Though a day early, the dreaded time has come: All the buffalo have been cruelly forced off of Horse Butte.

All week patrols have been documenting the Montana Department of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin National Forest and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks agents carry out massive and relentless hazing operations, harassing and harming America’s last wild bison population.

Helicopter Hazing on Horse Butte.  Photo by Lance Koudele

Helicopter Hazing on Horse Butte. Photo by Lance Koudele

On Tuesday, agents were set to haze bison within Yellowstone National Park to “make room” for the bison that would be hazed off of Horse Butte. But Mother Nature had different plans: one group of bison the agents planned to target consisted of forty bulls who would follow none of the agents’ orders. An incredible hail storm assisted and the haze was called off for the day. But such luck was momentary.

Every day this week agents chased bison family groups, including newborn calves and pregnant mothers, off of the south side of the Madison River, and today they set their sights on cattle-free Horse Butte. In fact, all of the Gallatin National Forest lands where the buffalo roam are cattle free, yet livestock interests insist on assaulting them with mounted cowboys*, ATVs, local and federal law enforcement and the DOL’s helicopter.*

Read the rest of this entry »