Montana activists ramp up campaign against culling Yellowstone bison

Wildlife advocates are ramping up their campaign against the annual culling of bison that roam onto state lands in Montana each winter from Yellowstone National Park, erecting dramatic billboards showing buffalo bleeding in the snow.

The billboards are the latest effort in an ongoing campaign by opponents of a years-long practice aimed at reducing the number of Yellowstone’s bison to protect against disease transmission and lessen the damage to land in and around the park, which spans parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. This year, wildlife managers aim to reduce the herd by up to 1,300 animals, the largest amount in nearly a decade.

“We’re fine with bison being hunted,” Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Montana-based conservation group behind the billboard campaign, said in a telephone interview on Friday. “But this is mass slaughter.”

His group is urging the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, to stop bison destined for slaughter from being trucked through the state.

The outsized road signs, painted by a Montana artist and bison activist, depict fallen bison with blood drenching snow and the words, in capital letters, “Stop the Yellowstone massacre!” Two billboards went up this week and two more are slated to go up later this month.

Wildlife advocates have also held rallies and a candlelight vigil against the severe cull.

The bison targeted for hunting and slaughter are among those that migrate into Montana each winter from Yellowstone. This year, the herd, the last remaining wild purebred bison in the United States, has swelled to 5,500, much higher than the target of 3,000 sought by wildlife managers.

When the herd gets too big, wildlife managers say, it can damage land through over-grazing. And Montana ranchers fear bison will transmit to cows a disease that causes them to miscarry.

In December, federal, state and tribal agencies responsible for managing the herd said they would cull between 900 and 1,300 bison, one of the largest amounts in the history of the park.

Jay Bodner, natural resource director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, said the push to cull the herd is linked to the impacts on the landscape by too many animals.

“There needs to be management protocols in place to make sure bison aren’t over-utilizing and destroying the range,” Bodner said.

Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel described bison management as “a difficult and challenging issue.” She added: “The state recognizes culling efforts are not everyone’s preferred approach.”

(Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Matthew Lewis)

Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson


4 thoughts on “Montana activists ramp up campaign against culling Yellowstone bison

  1. ..
    The (so-called) “culling” of the few remaining bison..
    aka the FIRST *National Mammal* ♥..
    is unconscionable, IMO.

    Another excuse for heartless/greedy/ignorant humans to MURDER innocent sentient beings.

    “I see humans..
    I don’t see humanity..
    but no humanity.” ☻

  2. Cut down on the number of cattle grazing the public land, not buffalo! Hello Dan Wenk, can you stand up to the livestock industry? No, it’s obvious who your buddies are.

  3. “The state recognizes culling efforts are not everyone’s preferred approach.”

    Gifted with understatement, aren’t they.

    I really get sick of hearing the same old talking points about degradation of lands and disease transmission. They are flat out lies, especially disease transmission from bison. What about degradation of lands by the herds of tourists every year, and the garbage they leave behind?

    I may never set foot in the West again, because on top of this, an appeals court ruled that wolves can now be persecuted again in Wyoming. Now that we’ve got a new national park in Maine, who needs it – the overcrowding, the garbage, the abuse of wildlife. It is no longer enjoyable to visit.

  4. Nothing is much worse for the land than large herds of grazing cattle. As for the bison, human trash hunters massacred them by the millions in the 19th century. The few remaining herds are in the constant cross hairs of hunters and ranchers. As for the tourists, they are the biggest group of pests that the bison in Yellowstone have to deal with. The witless two-legged wonders who go to the park taunt the animals, get into their faces to get pictures, and selfies, and generally give them no peace. Written and verbal warnings do no good. If a bison sends one of said pests flying into the nearing tree (check YouTube for this one, it will make your day!), it gets attention briefly, but another fool will come along.

    I think stopping the transport trucks to the slaughterhouses is a good idea. Protests at the facilities would not hurt either. This issue has been largely local, aside from those of us who members of and follow the Buffalo Field Campaign. National attention may get more activists on board.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s