Groups sue to halt hunting at Grand Teton

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Environmental groups filed a pair of federal lawsuits on Wednesday to stop hunting that is now allowed on hundreds of acres within Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and has claimed three bison.

The National Parks Conservation Association and Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and Wyoming Wildlife Advocates claimed in the lawsuits other species could be hunted.

Hunting generally isn’t allowed in national parks, though Grand Teton for decades has hosted an annual elk hunt in coordination with state wildlife officials.

The hunt — formally known as an elk reduction program — was part of a state-federal compromise that enabled the park to be established in its current boundaries in 1950.

A 2014 agreement between Grand Teton and Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials improperly allows hunting dozens of species on private and state land within Grand Teton, the groups claim.

The groups worry that grizzly bears and wolves could soon be targeted by hunters if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife succeeds in removing the animals from federal protection as threatened and endangered species.

“For more than 65 years, the National Park Service rightfully and lawfully exercised authority to protect all park wildlife,” said Sharon Mader, Grand Teton program manager for the NPCA. “It should continue to do so moving forward.”

Interior Department spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw declined to comment, citing agency policy on pending litigation.

The lawsuits involve dozens of parcels of state and private land called inholdings located within the park. National park land completely surrounds most inholdings, which total well under 1 percent of Grand Teton’s 485 square miles.

Significant inholdings include two state parcels, each measuring a square mile, and a pair of relatively small ranches of 450 and 120 acres.

National Park Service and state officials began discussing whether federal or state laws would be enforced on Grand Teton inholdings after a wolf was shot on a private inholding in the park in 2014.

Federal prosecutors declined to charge the shooter, finding that park officials had erred in determining that federal wildlife law for national parks took precedence on the private land.

Park officials agreed later that year that state law would take precedence on all inholdings. The four environmental groups are contesting that agreement with the lawsuits.

“Wildlife obviously don’t pay attention to title records and move around on all of those parcels,” said Tim Preso, an Earthjustice attorney representing Defenders of Wildlife and Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. “You cannot maintain the park, the integrity of the park as a preserve for wildlife protection, when you have these islands where wildlife can be killed.”

The number of Grand Teton inholdings dwindled after decades of buyouts by the National Park Service. Wyoming officials have been trying for years, with limited success, to get the Interior Department to acquire all remaining state inholdings.

The last two inholdings, together worth perhaps $100 million, command prime views of the Teton Range. In 2010, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal threatened to sell to the highest bidder if the federal government didn’t get serious about taking them off the state’s hands.

Recent negotiations between state and federal officials have focused on possibly trading the sections for federal land and mineral rights elsewhere in Wyoming

Trapping and slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone bison begins

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/trapping-and-slaughter-of-hundreds-of-yellowstone-bison-begins/ar-BBpAcKT?ocid=spartanntp

Josh Hafner

Yellowstone National Park officials started trapping bison Monday as part of an annual effort to kill hundreds of the area’s iconic animals through hunting or shipment to slaughterhouses.

Government agencies aim to drive down the bison population by as many as 900 this year to reduce the mammals’ centuries-old migration beyond the park’s boundaries and into Montana, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

A plan calls for eventually culling bison in the park from about 5,000 down to 3,000.

Efforts to winnow the bison’s migration came after fears from Montana ranchers and landowners that the bison may vie with cattle for grazing space or transmit disease, according to the Associated Press.

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About half of Yellowstone’s bison have been exposed to brucellosis, an animal disease that causes abortion in cattle, AP reports. There are no recorded cases of it moving from bison to cattle.

“There is recognition by both disease regulators and wildlife managers that the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle is minute,” the National Park Service told Vice magazine last year.

In 1995, Montana sued the National Park Service over bison migration into the state. The settlement created a plan requiring hundreds of bison to be captured and killed each year.

A record-high 1,726 bison were captured in the park in 2008, according to AP, with most sent to slaughterhouses.

Meat and hides from the slaughtered bison are distributed among members of Native American Tribes, according to the National Park Service.

In 1902, the herd of bison in Yellowstone dwindled to as low as 23. The park now counts near-record levels of its bison, according to AP, which biologists cherish as genetically pure.

While hunters had killed more than 300 bison as of Sunday, the Chronicle reported, the park said it wasn’t enough to negate the need for regular capture and slaughter.

“We understand that many people are uncomfortable with the practice of capture and slaughter—we are too, so we’re looking for additional alternatives,” the Park Service said in a guide to the controversy on its site.

Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner

Francis Marsh, right, a Cayuse Indian from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore., stands next to a bison he shot and killed near Gardiner, Montana on Feb. 12, 2011.© Ted S. Warren, AP Francis Marsh, right, a Cayuse Indian from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore., stands next to a bison he shot and killed near Gardiner, Montana on

Ranchers and hunters intent on wiping out wild horses wolves bison

Wild horse and bison roundup area

Wild horse and bison roundup area
Image: Public Domain

 

Buffalo Escape Farm Only to Be Shot and Killed

The Boston Globe reports that after a herd of buffalo escaped from a farm in upstate New York, they were intentionally shot and killed:
Three men hired by the farm opened fire on the animals Friday afternoon in woods in the town of Coeymans, about 10 miles south of the capital. …
… They escaped Thursday from a farm across the Hudson River in the Rensselaer County town of Schodack. The owner believes they swam across the river to the town of Bethlehem, where they wandered across a busy stretch of Interstate 87 and into neighboring Coeymans.
This heartbreaking incident reminds us that farmed animals, like all sentient beings, have a strong desire to live; in fact, Mercy For Animals has reported on countless animals who have escaped from slaughterhouses or jumped from transport trucks.
Love buffalo and other farmed animals? Don’t eat them! Click here to order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.
Photos: Mike Groll / Associated Press 

Tell Montana Governor Bullock to Protect Bison – Veto HB 194

FROM

Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC)
March 2015

[NOTE from All-Creatures.org: The confinment, harassment and slaughter of bison is because cattle ranchers do not want wild animals “competing for food” with their cows. GO VEGAN and you will help save bison!]

bison and cattle

ACTION

HB 194 is another attempt by special interests to block the resoration of wild bison in Montana. This act must not become law.

Contact Montana Governor Steve Bullock and let him know you stand for recovering America’s wild buffalo. If you live out of state, let him know why you visit Montana and what is important to you. Tell him to veto HB 194.

Sign an online petition here.

And/or better yet,make direct contact:

Governor Steve Bullock
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol
P.O. Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801
phones (855) 318-1330 or (406) 444-3111
fax (406) 444-5529
governor@mt.gov

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

  • HB 194 is an act requiring a forage (range) analysis before wild buffalo (or bison) are released, transplanted, or migrate naturally, onto land in Montana.
  • HB 194 is another unfunded mandate required to be performed before transplanting or reintroducing buffalo as a wildlife species in Montana.
  • HB 194 provides no funding for a required forage analysis by a range scientist from MSU-Ag or US NRCS.
  • HB 194 uses agricultural theories based on livestock grazing principles rather than professional ecological analysis by wildlife and wildlands professionals.
Photo by  Jim Robertson

Photo by Jim Robertson

Opportunity for Public Comment – Updating the Bison Mgmt Plan (IBMP)‏

Updating the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP)
The State of Montana and National Park Service (NPS) are jointly preparing a Yellowstone-area Bison Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS). The purpose of the plan/EIS is to conserve a wild and migratory population of Yellowstone-area bison, while minimizing the risk of brucellosis transmission between these wild bison and livestock to the extent practicable. This planning process will result in a new, long-term decision about how to manage bison in Yellowstone National Park and on adjacent lands outside of the park in Montana. Learn more
 
Opportunity for Public Comment
The comment period is March 16, 2015 – June 15, 2015. Public scoping meetings will be held in Bozeman, Gardiner, and West Yellowstone, Montana. For details about these events, visit the National Park Service Planning, Environment & Public Comment (NPS PEPC)
Public comments will be accepted at the public scoping meetings and via the following methods:
Online:
Written, on Paper:
Mail or hand-deliver written comments to:
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yellowstone Bison Management Plan EIS
  • PO Box 168
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
 
Deadline
The comment deadline is June 15, 2015.
Please note that comments cannot be accepted by fax or email; comments can be submitted only in the ways specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
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Stop Yellowstone National Park’s Bison Slaughter!

PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE!

Stop Yellowstone National Park’s Bison Slaughter! Sign Our One Click Letter No Matter Where You Live! In February 2014, we asked you to oppose the slaughter of bison in America’s oldest national park and you responded by the thousands. We need you to speak up again, because Yellowstone National Park is continuing to kill these majestic and wild animals. Since January 15, approximately 250 bison have been captured inside the park and all, with the exception of five, tragically transported to slaughterhouses. In addition, Montana hunters and treaty hunters have killed at least 150 bison along the park’s borders, raising the death toll to 400 individuals.  The Montana livestock industry wants America’s last wild bison dead. The Montana Livestock Industry has zero tolerance and no respect for wild animals such as bison. These bison are being rounded up and shipped to slaughter to appease livestock ranchers in Montana who unfairly compete with bison for grazing space.  In 1995, the Montana legislature adopted MCA 81-2-120 in response to political pressure by cattle ranchers to stop wild bison from migrating from Yellowstone National Park into Montana. MCA 81-2-120 gives the Montana Department of Livestock complete jurisdiction over migratory bison, which means that bison can be physically removed, hazed, rounded-up, killed by hunters, and sent to slaughter at the will and order of the Montana livestock industry. Click here to take action: https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2709 See this alert on our website here: http://www.idausa.org/stop-yellowstone-national-parks-bison-slaughter/
(Bison Photo copyright Jim Robertson)

Stop Yellowstone National Park’s Bison Slaughter!

Sign Our One Click Letter No Matter Where You Live!

In February 2014, we asked you to oppose the slaughter of bison in America’s oldest national park and you responded by the thousands. We need you to speak up again, because Yellowstone National Park is continuing to kill these majestic and wild animals. Since January 15, approximately 250 bison have been captured inside the park and all, with the exception of five, tragically transported to slaughterhouses. In addition, Montana hunters and treaty hunters have killed at least 150 bison along the park’s borders, raising the death toll to 400 individuals.

The Montana livestock industry wants America’s last wild bison dead.
The Montana Livestock Industry has zero tolerance and no respect for wild animals such as bison. These bison are being rounded up and shipped to slaughter to appease livestock ranchers in Montana who unfairly compete with bison for grazing space.

In 1995, the Montana legislature adopted MCA 81-2-120 in response to political pressure by cattle ranchers to stop wild bison from migrating from Yellowstone National Park into Montana. MCA 81-2-120 gives the Montana Department of Livestock complete jurisdiction over migratory bison, which means that bison can be physically removed, hazed, rounded-up, killed by hunters, and sent to slaughter at the will and order of the Montana livestock industry.

Click here to take action:

https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy…

See this alert on our website here:

http://www.idausa.org/stop-yellowstone-national-parks-biso…/

Essential Species Quiz

Here is a short multiple-choice quiz to test your knowledge of our fellow animals.

Instructions: Choose the species that best fit the descriptions below.

Note: Although some may share a few of the characteristics, they must meet all the criteria listed in order to qualify as a correct answer.

1. Which two species fit the following description?

  • Highly social
  • Live in established communities
  • Master planners and builders of complex, interconnected dwellings
  • Have a language
  • Can readily learn and invent words
  • Greet one another by kissing

A. Humans

B. Prairie Dogs

C. Dolphins

D. Penguins

Answer:  A. and B

2. Which two species fit the following description?

  • Practice communal care of the youngsters on their block
  • Beneficial to others who share their turf
  • Essential to the health of their environment
  • Without them an ecosystem unravels
  • Have been reduced to a tiny portion of their original population
  • Vegetarian

A. Humans

B. Prairie Dogs

C. Bison

D. Hyenas

Answer:  B. and C.

3. Which two species fit the following description?

  • Out of control pest
  • Multiplying at a phenomenal pace
  • Physically crowding all other life forms off the face of the earth
  • Characterized by a swellheaded sense of superiority
  • Convinced they are of far greater significance than any other being
  • Nonessential in nature’s scheme

A. Humans

B. Prairie Dogs

C. Cockroaches

D. Sewer Rats

Answer:  Sorry, trick question; the only species fitting the criteria is A.

If this seems a harsh assessment of the human race or a tad bit misanthropic, remember, we’re talking about the species that single-handedly and with malice aforethought blasted, burned and poisoned the passenger pigeon (at one time the most numerous bird on the entire planet) to extinction and has nearly wiped out the blue whale (by far the largest animal the world has ever known). Add to those crowning achievements the near-total riddance of the world’s prairie dogs, thereby putting the squeeze on practically all their grassland comrades, and you can start to see where this sort of disrelish might be coming from.

When the dust settles on man’s reign of terror, he will be best remembered as an egomaniacal mutant carnivorous ape who squandered nature’s gifts and goose-stepped on towards mass extinction, in spite of warnings from historians and scientists and pleas from the caring few…

____________________

The preceding was an excert from the book, Exposing the Big Game.

200+ Yellowstone Bison Sent to Slaghter

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/at-least-200-yellowstone-bison-have-been-sent-to-slaughter-conservation-group/ar-AA8wPh0

Yellowstone National Park has shipped at least 200 bison near the park boundary with Montana to slaughter as the famed tourist destination seeks to reduce a herd by 900 animals this winter, a U.S. conservation group said on Friday.

A park spokesman, Al Nash, could not immediately confirm how many bison may have been handed over to tribal partners and taken to slaughter. But he said 162 bison had been captured and placed into a holding facility as of a week ago.

The Buffalo Field Campaign, which opposes the culling and has been monitoring it, said the bison had been dispatched to slaughter since Wednesday, and anticipated that 55 more could be sent on Monday.

The culling plan allows the bulk of bison marked for death to be transferred to Native American tribes for slaughter and a certain number of the wandering buffalo to be killed by hunters.

The strategy is designed to address worries by ranchers that bison infected with the bacterial disease brucellosis, which can cause miscarriages in cattle, could transmit it to their herds, potentially threatening Montana’s brucellosis-free status.

The plan this winter to reduce the bison population to 4,000 from 4,900 comes as conservation groups are seeking federal protections for a herd that is a top attraction for the 3 million annual visitors to a park that spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Buffalo Field Campaign spokeswoman Stephany Seay called the culling practice “the brutal abuse and slaughter of the only wild population of buffalo remaining in this country.”

The iconic hump-backed animals once roamed by the tens of millions west of the Mississippi until hunting campaigns reduced their numbers to the fewer than 50 that found safe harbor at Yellowstone in the early 20th century.

The Buffalo Field Campaign said that roughly another 100 bison have been killed by hunters outside the park in Montana, while Nash, citing state officials, put that number lower, at 70.

Nash said the park usually engages in culling in winter, when bison migrate to lower elevations in search of food. Federal and state officials on horseback have been capturing animals along the park boundary, both inside and outside the park.

Conservationists petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year to provide federal safeguards for the Yellowstone herd, contending it was the only free-roaming band in the country to retain its genetic integrity.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Wild Buffalo Roam East of the Mississippi for First Time Since 1830s

http://ecowatch.com/2014/12/31/wild-buffalo-roam-east-mississippi/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=c725c49f24-Top_News_1_2_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-c725c49f24-85338557

When David Crites walked out of his apartment last month, he was greeted by a line of six or so bison standing shoulder to shoulder in the front yard. He sidled over to his truck, staring at the huge animals, slipped into the front seat, then closed the door and turned on the ignition. As the pickup slowly made its way down the driveway, the bison lumbered alongside.

“It was like I was in Yellowstone,” Crites says. But he wasn’t. His temporary job (which includes housing) is to remove trees and install fences in the Nachusa Grasslands of north-central Illinois—where wild bison recently set hooves down for the first time in almost 200 years.

The herd of 30 bison is part of an effort by the Nature Conservancy to restore grasslands in the Prairie State, which, perhaps ironically, has lost more than 99 percent of its former grassland. In the late 1980s, conservationists happened to be passing by the Nachusa when they heard the call of an upland sandpiper, a bird that breeds in tallgrass prairies. The Nature Conservancy then began buying farms in the area as they became available, and now it owns a total of 3,500 acres.

The group is doing its best to re-create a lost landscape, says Jeff Walk, director of science for the Nature Conservancy’s Illinois chapter. He knows the prairie won’t be exactly the same as yesteryear’s, but he and the rest of the team are trying to get as close a match as possible.

To do that, volunteers and seasonal employees like Crites (who spends the rest of his year working in data centers) erect fences, collect and sow seeds, and replicate natural growth cycles with controlled burns. So far, their work has paid off. Even on a winter day when dry brown oak leaves cling to trees, the undulating hills are colored in red, orange, and gray, a mosaic of newly planted big bluestem, Indian grass, and switchgrass.

But until October, the landscape had been missing one thing it needs in order to really thrive: grazers.

After decades of preparation, genetically pure bison (meaning they don’t have any cattle genes) arrived this fall from a preserve in Iowa. There are a few herds just like them living in reserves across the country, but this group is now the first one east of the Mississippi.

So far the experiment is working well. Aside from a roundup every fall, when the bison will get their vaccinations, these wild oxen will roam across 500 acres enclosed by a woven wire fence. Signs hung on the wire warn visitors that the bison are wild. Anyone who hops the fence could suffer the consequences (i.e. a potential horn to the buttocks, or worse, a trampling).

Within the enclosure, the bison eat the grasses and avoid the forbs, or flowering plants. This helps promote plant diversity, because without the bison noshing them down, grasses would dominate the prairie, leaving little room for rare species like the prairie violet. The nearly one-ton beasts will also help spread seeds and sculpt the soil with their hooves, something researchers will study on site.

“The other thing is poop; they’re very productive,” says Kirk Hallowell, a volunteer steward and my guide for the day. Their pies will fertilize the soil and attract insects, which will (hopefully) bring birds. If all goes well, Nachusa project director Bill Kleiman and ecologist Cody Considine will open up more land to the bison next year.

Despite the project’s success, the land will never be what it was 200 years ago. The bison each have an identification chip embedded in them, and seven of them wear GPS collars. They’ll never be able to roam wherever they want, and people will always have to manage fires on the land, raising the question of what is truly wild.

“It’s an interesting and important concept, but the answers don’t fit on bumper stickers,” says Kleiman. He argues that the bison are semi-wild, and an important part of our natural heritage. “Everyone loves bison. They’re a national symbol of what we discovered when we came to North America—that wistful longing for wide-open spaces. And they’re a symbol of it right here.”

The bison certainly feel wild when Hallowell and I step out of the open-air truck to get a closer look, nothing but knee-high grasses swaying between us. Lying on top of a hill, their shaggy hair blows with each wintery gust. The 1,900-pound bull, fondly nicknamed “Chain Breaker” because he did just that in a corral once, fixes his big brown eye on us. He gets up, hind legs first, and shakes. Other animals stand up, too, and join the viewing party.

We get back in the truck. As we start to drive away, I look back and see Chain Breaker, his horned silhouette regal against the gray sky. Looks wild enough, for now.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson