Native Sun News Today: Protecting buffalo from extinction again

Bison in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Daniel Mayer

Protecting the buffalo herd from near extinction – again
By Aly Duncan Neely
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

PIEDMONT –– In Southwestern Montana, Fort Peck and Ft Belknap tribal members and wildlife supporters struggle to kill legislation that protects only the assumed rights of livestock owners.

The legislation allows for the senseless slaughter of the few remaining genetically pure wild buffalo, inhabitants of the Yellowstone National Park system, according to information from the Buffalo Field Campaign, 2016.

Instead of listing the wild herds as endangered and putting infrastructure in place to enforce their protection, tax dollars are being spent to protect the special interests of a single industry, the beef industry.

Reinforced by the current legal measures, a hideous scene unveils as horseback riders and four-wheelers harass, corral and separate young buffalo calves from their mothers often causing injury, while low-flying helicopters frighten and torture entire herds, including pregnant cows and newborn calves, trapping, injuring, and slaughtering the wild herds by means of stabbing and shooting in an effort to diminish their already dwindling numbers, a method known as hazing.

These vicious attacks, inspired by shortsightedness and immediate short-term monetary gain for a few local ranchers and land owners, are the bane for the existence of these struggling, diminishing herds. Newborn calves that have not yet reached a few hours old, much less old enough to get their footing to navigate rugged trails, are driven long distances and separated from their nursing mothers, often to die a horrible negligent death in a makeshift, hellish captivity. Horseback riders negligently drive their mounts into treacherous waters, bogging them in muddy wetlands, and coaxing them over rocky terrain, causing injury to even their treasured animals.

It seems to take several law enforcement employees, paid equestrians, and state or county hired four-wheel, off-road vehicle operators to take down one newborn buffalo calf. Now that is your tax dollars hard at work. It apparently takes as many paid hazers, in addition to several rifle-toting wannabe hunters, to take out several herd members.

A Yellowstone volunteer for the BFC, and former Hot Shot firefighter, Dianna Suarez, stated that after the numbers of wild bison deteriorated from hundreds of thousands to only 23 individual bison in the 1800s, Yellowstone was later designated a national park in order to increase the population of its wild inhabitants and wild biota. Because of effective management of the bison, the population increased to 4500 individuals.

At that point the park service, under pressure from judges and senators who had allegiance to the powerful livestock lobbies in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, amended the policy so that any buffalo straying from the invisible borders of the park was fair game for land owners to gun-down. National forest system land on the outskirts of Yellowstone could be legally used by livestock owners for grazing using the misguided free-range method. The livestock owners then promptly decided that they no longer wanted to share the range with the wild bison. A prime example of the classic if it’s wild, kill it philosophy ensued.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Protecting the buffalo herd from near extinction – again

(Contact Aly Duncun Neely at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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