Yellowstone National Park Sends Hundreds of America's Last Wild Buffalo to Slaughter
Under continued pressure from Montana livestock interests, Yellowstone National Park is sending hundreds of America's last wild buffalo—the National Mammal of the U.S.—to slaughter.
Since Feb. 8, approximately 45 wild Yellowstone buffalo have been shipped from the park's Stephens Creek buffalo trap to a slaughterhouse. With recent captures of at least 600 buffalo, more than 500 wild buffalo remain captive inside Yellowstone National Park's trap. The government intends to slaughter even more. Upwards of 400 more wild bison have also been killed by hunters along Yellowstone National Park's boundary.
WARNING ... This Video Will Break Your Heart: 150 Wild Buffalo Captured at Yellowstone https://t.co/eXw5e3J7d7 @ALDF https://t.co/RsyHSghv6r— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1458220288.0
The country's last wild bison are in the crosshairs of MCA 81-2-120, a state law that puts the Montana Department of Livestock in charge of the migratory species.
"The unfounded threats and discredited fears of brucellosis do not justify Montana Department of Livestock management of Montana's one and only wild buffalo population," said Buffalo Field Campaign media coordinator Stephany Seay.
Yellowstone National Park is slaughtering wild buffalo under the highly controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan, the Montana Governor approved plan under MCA 81-2-120.
"This senseless slaughter of our National Mammal can come to an end by managing wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana," said Buffalo Field Campaign co-founder Mike Mease. "Governor Steve Bullock and Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk need to show leadership and end government slaughter. "
Buffalo Field Campaign's alternative plan to manage wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana can be found here.
"Montana can restore wild buffalo while saving dollars and making sense: repeal MCA 81-2-120 and manage wild bison like wild elk in Montana," said Seay. "It really is that simple."
The Yellowstone buffalo are America's last wild, migratory herds and the most important bison population that exists. They are the last to identify as a wildlife species and they are ecologically extinct throughout their native range. They've been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List for being "threatened with near extinction" and even Montana designates the species "in greatest conservation need," with conditions "making [bison] vulnerable to global extinction."
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By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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