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Yellowstone National Park Sends Hundreds of America's Last Wild Buffalo to Slaughter

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Bison await shipment to slaughter after being processed and tested for brucellosis by Park Service employees at the Stephens Creek facility, located at the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park. Photo credit: Michelle McCarron

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.

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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