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Yellowstone National Park Sends Over 100 Wild Bison to Slaughter

Special Update from Gardiner, Montana 3/4/03

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2003
Gardiner contact: Mike Mease (406) 848-7414
West Yellowstone contacts: Ted Fellman, Jonas Ehudin (406) 646-0070
Dear friends and supporters of the buffalo,

For the first time since the 1996-1997 season,
Yellowstone National Park
has reopened the Stephens Creek buffalo trap,
which is inside the Park
near the north entrance. Yesterday, agents from
the Park and the
Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) captured
over 100 buffalo there,
and as I write this they are being driven in
several trailers to area
slaughterhouses. The trap can hold 125 bison,
and after sending
approximately 50 bison to slaughter today, the
Park rounded up the other
60+ bison in the area. As many as 50 more bison
will be driven to their
death tomorrow. In a matter of hours, this has
become the most
disastrous season for the bison in the last five

In response to the building tension in the
Gardiner area, five BFC
volunteers traveled to there on Monday morning.
They were present
during the capture yesterday and were even
allowed to document the
activities inside the trap. Marsha Karle, Park
spokesperson, granted
access to the operation for two members of our
film crew. Today, access
was denied to all but a Park journalist for the
reason of overall
safety. We have been assured that a media tour
and opportunity to
gather more footage will be made available

This is a hard day for us all. We send our
thoughts and prayers out to
you, our worldwide circle of support, and look
forward to the day when
we will put a stop to the killing.

For the buffalo,
Jonas Ehudin & Ted Fellman
Media Coordinators

Today's press release:

Yellowstone National Park Sends Over 100 Wild
Bison to Slaughter;
Over 60 More Buffalo Captured Today

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2003
Gardiner contact: Mike Mease (406) 848-7414
West Yellowstone contacts: Ted Fellman, Jonas
Ehudin (406) 646-0070

Gardiner, MT - Yellowstone National Park sent
approximately 47 wild
bison to slaughter today without testing them for
brucellosis. Over 100
buffalo were captured yesterday inside the Park
at the Stephens Creek
trap near the north entrance. A similar number
of captured buffalo will
be shipped to slaughter tomorrow. Over 60
buffalo in the area near the
trap were hazed and captured today. The Montana
Department of Livestock
(DOL) assisted with the operations.

Trailers with heavy police escort moved the
buffalo through Gardiner
this morning on their way to the slaughterhouses.
Mike Mease, a Buffalo
Field Campaign (BFC) coordinator, was on the
scene. "The Lamar Valley
herd was almost completely wiped out back in 1997
and now these bison
are being killed off again inside Yellowstone
National Park without even
being tested, " said Mease. "There are over 50
native tribes that have
requested live bison to be introduced onto their
reservations, and yet
the state of Montana considers killing to be the
only solution."

Since the Winter of 1996-1997 when 1,084 wild
bison were killed, the
National Park Service (NPS) has taken a back seat
to the Department of
Livestock as the lead agency for bison management
activities in Montana.
The DOL has spent over $3 million since 1996 on
bison management
operations that have killed 1,833 wild bison.
The NPS is one of five
federal and state agencies bound by the
Interagency Bison Management
Plan. The plan has a $45 million budget for 15
years. This is the
first time since 1997 that wild bison have been
captured at the Stephens
Creek trap north of Gardiner. This is also the
first time since 1997
that the Park Service has been the lead agency in
a capture and
slaughter operation.

The Yellowstone herd is the only continuously
wild herd in the United
States. It is descended from just 23 wild bison
that survived the mass
eradication of the 19th century and is the
largest remaining single
population of genetically pure bison. "An
estimated 60 million wild
bison once roamed this continent, and now 4,000
is considered too many?"
remarked BFC volunteer Larry Godby.

The Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group
working in the field,
everyday, to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's
wild buffalo.
Volunteers defend the buffalo on their
traditional winter habitat and
advocate for their protection. Daily patrols
stand with the buffalo on
the ground they choose to be on and document
every move made against

Video footage is available upon request.
Tell me more 06.Mar.2003 09:12

all God's creatures

Why are they slaughtering these bison? What's the 'official' reason given? I would like more information please.

official reason 06.Mar.2003 21:28


The official reason is fear of brucelosis transmission to CATTLE! Montanta ranchers dont want bison to ever compete for grazing in National Forest and BLM lands adjacent to Yellowstone, and being anti-Federal, they are militant about anything remotely federal in defining their activities. Through their trade industry (Motanta Cattlemans Assoc) they bought the state governement (montana dept of Livestock) and now direct them to kill as many bison as possible so that the bison wont wander out of Yellowstone durring the winter and graze on lands they want for their cattle. They are now SO caught up in their own rhetoric that many ranchers now BELIEVE that bison transmit brucellosis to cattle. All science points otherwise. Brucelosis can cause increased rates of abortions amoung cattle, but bison seem very resistant to it. Not showing overt affects. Many western states guard militantly against brucelosis and thus transport of livestock between states is not free until Montana feels it can positively state there is no brucelosis in any of its cattle. This is a moving target and provides infinite justification for bison herd manipulation (ie slaughters like this one). Whats funny(sad) is that even if bison could spread brucelosis to cattle the number of cattle affected (100s) would probably abort no more than 5-10 calves/year at a value loss of
~$1,000-$10,0000. Yet we spend 45million to stop this by indiscriminately destroying the last genetic resevoir of our nations most populous herbivore...the western bison.