While not as amusing as the two who tried to urinate into the geyser a few years ago, this was still just as stupid.
You can watch the web cam here: Old Faithful web cam
Webcam catches tourists walking on Old Faithful.
The Associated Press
Recently I referenced unpublished data indicating that bison suffer from compromised mitochondrial DNA which could be exacerbated by government slaughter without any examination as to how it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 »
Tom Woodbury, Western Watersheds Project: (406) 830-3099
Dan Brister, Buffalo Field Campaign: (406) 726-5555
Mike Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign: (406) 646-0071
Glenn Hockett, Gallatin Wildlife Association: (406) 581-6352
HELENA, MONTANA – A coalition of conservation groups, Native Americans, and Montanans filed an urgent motion for injunctive relief in federal court today to prevent a repeat of the 2008 slaughter of over 1400 wild bison captured on public wildlands near the border of Yellowstone National Park in Montana.
Many of the same factors that contributed to the mass slaughter in 2008, including heavy snowpack, bison population size, and the continuing agency intolerance for migrating bison, are in place this year as well.
With the Stephens Creek bison trap inside the Park already near capacity, and more bison migrating toward their natural winter range in Montana to forage at lower elevations, Park Service Spokesperson Al Nash indicated that the agencies may begin sending hundreds of bison off to slaughter whether they carry the disease brucellosis or not. While it is concern over the possible transmission of brucellosis to cattle that is the justification offered for preventing bison from utilizing their winter range in Montana, at the present time there are no cattle present in the bison’s winter range corridor, and no risk of transmission. And that, according to the Plaintiffs challenging the bison management plan in federal court, perfectly illustrates why the plan needs to be scrapped.
“One of the twin goals of the bison management plan is ‘to ensure the wild and free-ranging nature of American bison’,” said Tom Woodbury, Montana Director for Western Watersheds Project, “but ten years into the plan, there is still zero tolerance for bison being bison on our public wildlands.”
The snow is deep, in fact it’s 130% of average in Yellowstone this year. That makes for a bad situation if you are a buffalo there. Do you try to stay in the Park where you can’t get to the food that you know is under all of that snow or do you follow your instincts and move to lower elevation where there is less snow? Either way, you’re screwed if you’re a buffalo.
This year, with an estimated population of 3,900 buffalo in Yellowstone, things are reaching a tipping point and a mass exodus of buffalo is likely to ensue.
What will await them when they leave the Park? Well, this year, there have been over 100 bison killed outside the Park, mostly by tribal treaty and sport hunters according to the Buffalo Field Campaign (full disclosure, I am a long time volunteer and board member of BFC), one was hit on the road as a result of being orphaned during the hunt and unable to trudge through the deep snow on its own, and another one was shot by Montana officials after it left the Royal Teton Ranch after being captured, tested and marked in an obscenely expensive program which is vaunted by the government and “conservation” groups for its greater “tolerance” towards bison outside of Yellowstone National Park.
That experiment hasn’t gone too well. The buffalo aren’t behaving the way, or staying where the government wants them to so they have been chasing them around on horseback trying to keep them on the RTR.
It has long been postulated that Yellowstone bison are important because they remain the only continuously free roaming herd but their importance has been elevated with the disclosure of a recent report which says that they are also the only genetically pure herd among those managed by the Department of Interior.
Not only this, but the Yellowstone population actually consists of two distinct populations which has extraordinary management implications. Currently the management plan for Yellowstone bison does not take in to account the two distinct populations leading to the possibility that management actions could have a disproportionate impact on one population over that of the other. These kinds of impacts can be profound genetically and can lead to loss of genetic diversity over time. The management activities can also have disproportionate impacts on herds because they can eliminate entire maternal groups, groups of closely related cow/calf groups, which are routinely captured and slaughtered on the northern and western boundaries of Yellowstone Park.
Interesting post by NRDC’s Louisa Wilcox about how the science shows how critical whitebark pine nuts are for grizzlies and how the managers talk out of both sides of their mouth.
“In its August 9th legal brief challenging the 2009 ruling by Federal Judge Donald Molloy that required relisting of the Yellowstone grizzly bear under the Endangered Species Act, federal attorneys said, “the grizzly does not depend on whitebark pine for its survival. The grizzly is a very successful omnivore, and that…they will somehow be able to adapt to a decline in whitebark pines.” The legal briefs then go on to dismiss the issue of whitebark pine relationships to grizzly bear vital rates, including mortality risks, as well as the reproductive success of females. This argument, as the district court ruled, and I will discuss later, runs counter to the evidence on the record.
Then, just yesterday, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team sent out a press release saying, “the scarcity of whitebark pine cones this year may be driving bears to find food at lower elevations, where there is more human activity, increasing the chances of bear-human interactions.” (This comes in a year when 22 grizzly bears are known to have died, and many human-bear conflicts have occurred — months before bears will den up.)”
Grizzly Managers Spin Whitebark Pine Woes: Just How Important is Whitebark to Yellowstone Bears?.
Louisa Willcox’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC
Yellowstone National Park – Summer 2010 Bison Population Estimate Released.
U.S. National Park Service Press Release
The plan to dart bison in Yellowstone with vaccine is just another money pit in an unending battle against bison by the livestock industry. It is inconceivable that the government wants to waste even more money on a plan that even they say won’t rid Yellowstone bison of brucellosis or bring more tolerance for wild bison by the livestock oligarchy of Montana.
This is just another money pit that won’t accomplish anything. Quit pushing the rancher’s problems onto the taxpayers, let bison be bison and vaccinate the damned cattle instead.
Many skeptical of bison vaccination proposal.
By DANIEL PERSON – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Grizzly bear with rare four cubs delights visitors in Yellowstone.
San Francisco Examiner
The ridiculous annual event of hazing bison during their calving season is underway even though this year the bison are likely to come back out of the Park because the green-up of grass hasn’t started there due to late season snowstorms.
Each year the residents of the West Yellowstone area have to endure this fiasco on behalf of a few ranchers who whine and cry that their cattle might get brucellosis from bison when they don’t even bring them to the area a until after the buffalo have all calved. This year, due to the late green-up, it will likely be even later.
On numerous occasions I have witnessed Montana’s helicopters chasing buffalo deep into the Park even beyond the border of Wyoming in front of bewildered tourists. Last year, while hazing herds of newborn calves and their mothers off of private property where there never will be cattle again, Buffalo Field Campaign filmed a calf that had broken its leg in the malay of the hazing operation. These kinds of incidents are a common occurrence and there is no justification for it.
A good overview of the buffalo issue and how they continue to be persecuted by Montana’s livestock industry and how the buffalo from the quarantine feasibility study ended up going to Ted Turner.
The Privatization of Wildlife: How Ted Turner Scored Yellowstone’s Bison Herd
AlterNet / By Joshua Frank
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 23, 2010
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign 406-646-0070, firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Nelson, Western Watersheds Project, 406-830-3099, email@example.com
Glenn Hockett, Gallatin Wildlife Association, 406-586-1729, firstname.lastname@example.org
GALLATIN COUNTY, MONTANA: Four conservation organizations filed a legal challenge today against the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ (FWP) decision to complete one phase of its Quarantine Feasibility Study on a private ranch of Turner Enterprises, Inc. (TEI), and to give TEI a percentage of the public’s bison at the end of the study. The groups assert that this action violates the state’s public trust responsibilities to protect and manage wildlife for public and not private benefit. The decision privatizes a full 75% of any offspring born to the 86 bison now held on TEI’s Green Ranch. Throughout earlier phases of the study, FWP indicated all bison, including offspring, would be managed as public wildlife and could never be privatized. The plaintiffs assert FWP’s final decision goes against these promises, and against FWP’s public trust duties.
Read the rest of this entry »
Below is this week’s Buffalo Field Campaign Update from the Field. I’ve been holding my tongue about “Buffalo Battle” which is a pilot episode for a possible new series about the bison issue and the Buffalo Field Campaign. The episode will air on December 5th on Planet Green.
I’ve seen two early cuts of the episode and I think it does a great job of explaining the issue and showing how the Buffalo Field Campaign conducts its field operations. It was filmed this past spring during the big hazing operations which moved the buffalo off of Horse Butte back into Yellowstone National Park.
Buffalo Battle is directed by Matt Testa who produced The Buffalo War, another documentary about the buffalo issue and the Buffalo Field Campaign, in 2000.
We are excited and hoping that this will become a series so that the light of day will shine on this issue and the plight of the buffalo. I hope you can watch.
BFC Board Member
Update from the Field
November 19, 2009
BFC Klean Kanteen Water Bottles Make Perfect Gifts. Order Yours Today While They Last!
In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* TAKE ACTION: Help the Buffalo with Your Comments to APHIS
* Buffalo Battle: BFC Will Be on TV’s Planet Green!
* Do You Like to Cook? BFC Needs You!
* Buffalo Field Campaign Wish List
* Last Words
* Kill Tally
* Important Links
Read the rest of this entry »
Yellowstone plan sharply curtails snowmobiles
Fires consuming acres, but weather might turn. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole Daily
By Wednesday morning there might be snow and an end to the suddenly exciting late season burst of wildfires.
– – – – –
Photos of and commentary9/28 on the Arnica Fire by Dusty Roads.
The photos were taken from boat on Yellowstone Lake. Sept. 27, 2009
I think the headline should read “Bison Defends Itself from California Tourist at Yellowstone National Park” as the tourist approached within 10-feet of the bull. I’m glad the man was not severely injured but every visitor is handed a little flyer with a drawing of a person being thrown through the air by a bison.
Bison Attacks California Tourist at Yellowstone National Park
Local 8 News, Eastern Idaho
Bull bison weigh up to 2000 pounds and they have big pointy things on their head. I’ve seen them walk slowly up to a 5-foot fence and jump over it like a deer.
Don’t walk up to them unless you want a big hole in your leg or groin area which is where most people are gored. Most people injured by bison approach them too closely. I’ve never heard of a bison that went out of its way to attack someone.
As my friend Mike Mease always says, “if a buffalo lifts its tail then it is either going to charge or discharge”.
Here are videos of what can happen very quickly to people who approach bison too closely.
See PEER’s press release here.
Update: 2 Yellowstone workers fired after watering geyser
Here is an excerpt of today’s Buffalo Field Campaign Update from the Field. You can read the entire update here
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Wild buffalo have returned with the Spring!
The song of mountain bluebirds is in the air, and tracks of the mighty bison are upon the land once again. After a long winter without the buffalo in Montana, the unspoken question hung in the air: would the buffalo return this year? Wild forces prevail, and on the Vernal Equinox the steady, determined footsteps of approximately fifty buffalo made their way down the Madison River corridor, out to their calving grounds on Horse Butte, heralding the season of rebirth. The buffalo’s return has raised the spirits of everyone at camp. The energy is palpable, and we are once again running full patrols and basking in the presence of these prehistoric wonders.
Famous elk found dead just north of Yellowstone.
AP Seattle Post Intelligencer.
Buffalo Field Campaign
Update from the Field
October 18, 2007
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In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* BFC Project Director Convicted in Montana “Justice” Court
* TAKE ACTION! Two Ways to Protect Wild Buffalo Now!
* Volunteers Needed for 07-08 Season
* Buffalo in the News
* Last Words ~ Roman Sanchez