Advocates say hunts, slaughter threaten Yellowstone bison

  • MATT VOLZ Associated Press
  • Updated 19 hrs ago
  • 2

HELENA – Wildlife advocacy groups are suing to force the U.S. government to look again at whether the hunting and slaughter of bison that wander outside of Yellowstone National Park threaten the survival of one of the last genetically pure populations of the national mammal.

Buffalo Field Campaign, Western Watersheds Project and Friends of Animals filed the lawsuit against the Interior Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Monday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. They are asking a judge to order federal wildlife officials to re-examine whether the Yellowstone bison should be listed as a threatened or endangered species.

Bison, which Congress designated as the national mammal earlier this year, were hunted to near extinction in the late 19th century. The estimated 4,900 Yellowstone bison are one of the last remaining populations in the U.S. that don’t have cattle genes in their DNA.

The Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year rejected two petitions seeking federal protections for Yellowstone bison that would prevent them from being hunted, rounded up for slaughter or hazed back into the park when they leave in search of food.



2 thoughts on “Advocates say hunts, slaughter threaten Yellowstone bison

  1. The wolves, bison, wild horses, coyotes, grizzly, lionsalso do not significantly impact stock. It is rancher-hunter-state wildlife agency-yokel/local mythology, folklore, lies.
    Many ranchers are ranching on public land displacing wildlife (772 National Forest permits, 3776 BLM permits in MT 2012) at a pittance in fees and complaining about bison or bison relocations or wolves or other predators or wild horses and bison. Rancher mentalities in our western senators and representatives and governors and Interior Department subverted the intent and the law of the Endangered Species Act to politically manage wolves, in states particularly hostile to predators, versus scientifically, instituting an aggressive “management” (hunting and trapping) plan, really a vendetta driven by anti-wolf hysteria. Hunters repeat their anecdotal opinion (myth) that wolves are harming ungulate populations against evidence to the contrary. The number of elk in Montana is up 37% since wolf return. WY has had 10 years in a row of record elk kills. Hunters are the main pressure on elk and other wildlife. Predators are better and more natural managers of ecological systems, not FWP and other wildlife agencies, and not hunters or trappers. Ranchers repeat their anecdotal opinion (myth) that wolves are significantly impacting wildlife, really depredation is about 0.002 percent. Elk populations in Montana have soared from about 89,000 in 1989 to 140,000+ in 2012, and have soared in other states the past decade. Wolves were reintroduced in 1995 in Yellowstone and ID, but had already started reintroducing themselves via Glacier. There were two terrible winters, 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 in Yellowstone followed by years of drought that decimated those elk herds numbers and over-hunting until 2005, but those herds have rebounded and are at historic levels when before they were at an all time high. From 1995 to 2005 elk hunters outside YNP killed over a thousand elk while wolves killed just over a hundred. Man killing is additive, does more damage to ungulate numbers while predator killing is natural and a balancing and trophic effect. Forage changes had more to do with decline than wolves or other predators. That the wolves decimated YNP elk herds is an absolute myth of wolf hating groups. Wild horse management by BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or Bureau of Land Mafia, if you will, is too influenced by their opinion. BLM is largely loaded by rancher interests. To protect wildlife, wildlife habitat, national forests and monuments, what some of the last best places have to offer, we had better stop deferring to ranchers and hunters and rancher politicians. They are purely serving themselves and are in a hysterical, self-centered, entitled, power and control state of mind with regard to bison, wolves, grizzlies, wild horses, and now elk. They are traditional encroachers on wildlife and habitat. They think they are entitled to public land and wildlife management for them. We need to manage ranchers, sportsmen and other encroachers, and development which is right up to wilderness edges, if we are to have wilderness and balanced wilderness ecology.


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