Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Look closely at this, especially the segment that starts in about the middle of the video: a lame buffalo calf and its irritated mom tell the story; a result of the hazing. You would think that descendants of the wild buffalo that fed, clothed, and sheltered Native Americans, pioneers, soldiers, railroad workers, and countless others in the settlement of America would get a little slack today. They're aren't a lot of wild buffalo left in the country, and these particular buffalo are a special lot. The buffalo here have wandered out of the park boundary and onto the Horse Butte peninsula near West Yellowstone, a favorite area for them in the spring, especially for the births of new buffalo. The "cowboys" of the Montana Department of Livestock are hazing not only buffalo, but also any other wildlife in the area as they are pushed back onto park land. The cowboys are on private property where there are signs posted by residents stating that the area is a welcome zone for buffalo. If left to their natural tendencies, the buffalo would wander back to the park, but the threat of brucellosis, a disease that buffalo can transmit to cattle, is a powerful tool that livestock growers use to protect their cattle grazing interests. HOWEVER, there are NO cattle in this area when this hazing happens every spring, and there has not been a single case of brucellosis transmsitted to cattle by buffalo. In fact, the brucellosis that infects some of the Yellowstone bison was passed on to them by cattle. I am a staunch supporter of The Buffalo Field Campaign, which shot this video. They and many others out West are doing their best to try to stop the hazing, but the political choke hold of the cattle ranching industry is strong. It's a shame that the magnificent buffalo herd is treated like common livestock, not the wildlife that are admired by so many Yellowstone visitors and buffalo lovers from afar, like me. As I was preparing this, a press release by the Buffalo Field Campaign came out:
"June 17. Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) agents captured three bull bison this morning in the Duck Creek bison trap located on private land less than 200 yards from the western border of Yellowstone National Park. The bison were loaded onto a livestock trailer and shipped to a slaughterhouse. They had been grazing peacefully near the Park border for the past several weeks on and around National Forest lands purchased for wildlife habitat."