- - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We’ve been given no other choice but to seek Endangered Species Act protection for the Yellowstone buffalo (“Many ideas floated over Yellowstone park bison,” Web, Dec. 14). This important action has been taken by the Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds Project.

Not a single Interagency Bison Management Plan affiliate seems to have the courage to defend wild buffalo — not the park, not Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, not even the tribes. The dastardly management schemes that continue to wage war against buffalo must end. There is no cause or evidence to support this brutal treatment, and none of the actions carried out in vile service to Montana’s livestock interests can be justified. The nonsensical abuse and killing of wild buffalo has become a very bad habit that U.S. taxpayers continue to fund.

Additionally, Montana’s latest scheme — Alternative G — aims to “offer” wild buffalo a year-round habitat they do not use, and it arbitrarily cuts in half a major migration corridor they do use — in exchange for slaughter. If this plan is accepted, millions of taxpayer dollars will continue to be wasted to empower a livestock bureaucracy that is institutionally biased against buffalo.

Meanwhile, outrageous “solutions” to the gore of gut piles at Beattie Gulch include opening Yellowstone National Park, the only place on earth where wild buffalo find any refuge, to hunting. Another bad idea suggests transporting the animals from the park to a small field a few miles away so they can be shot.

The Yellowstone buffalo are America’s last wild, migratory herds and the most important bison population that exists. They are the last to identify as a wildlife species and ecologically extinct throughout their native range. They’ve been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List for being “threatened with near extinction,” and even Montana designates the species “in greatest conservation need” with conditions “making [bison] vulnerable to global extinction.”

Wild bison don’t need a new plan. They need to exist as an indigenous wildlife species fulfilling their ecological role on their native landscape. A listing under the Endangered Species Act is necessary to ensure their survival.


Buffalo Field Campaign

West Yellowstone, Montana

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