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Sun Dec 18, 2016, 05:37 AM

Countering the Buffalo-Killing Agenda

December 16, 2016
Countering the Buffalo-Killing Agenda

by Stephany Seay


Each year, Yellowstone National Park announces that they “need” to kill hundreds of buffalo to placate rancher’s unfounded fears and prejudices. With the assistance of the media, they manipulate facts and language in an attempt to persuade the public to believe their lies. For example, see the recent AP article, “Yellowstone Park Looks at Large Bison Cull to Trim Herds.” This brief but damaging propaganda is loaded with false premises supporting their buffalo-killing agenda.

Premise 1: hundreds of bison need to be killed to reduce herd size. Why do the herds of ecologically extinct wild bison need to be reduced? Scientists acknowledge that Yellowstone can support more than 6,500 individuals, and wild, migratory buffalo also create their own habitat. Gallatin National Forest, surrounding the north and west boundaries of Yellowstone, encompasses an additional 3 million acres which could support thousands more buffalo, while the whole of the Greater Yellowstone Bio-Community is around 20 million acres. The continent can support tens of millions of bison, yet, today, a few thousand is deemed “too many.” Compared to what? The 23 who saved themselves from extinction in Yellowstone’s remote Pelican Valley? The politics of competition is using declining baselines to define populations; instead we should compare them to those before European invasion and exploitation.

Premise 2: bison are spilling into neighboring Montana. When did seasonal migration become an accident? Do elk and deer “spill” over park boundaries? This is just more livestock rhetoric. Wild buffalo aren’t “park animals” who should stay put within artificial, ecologically meaningless boundaries for the “benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Migration is not some error that humans should correct.

Premise 3: 5,500 bison is a high number. Declining baselines again (see Premise 1). Interestingly, Yellowstone now claims they “underestimated” the population last year. How did these professionals miss counting over 1,000 of America’s largest land mammals? Who’s to say they aren’t overestimating now to serve livestock agendas? Yellowstone’s Central Herd, which migrates north and west is doubly impacted by management actions; they haven’t recovered from the 2008 slaughter. In spring, our field patrols typically see 400-600 buffalo in the Hebgen Basin, but last spring we saw fewer than 250 total. Recons into the park, to places suggested by Yellowstone’s bison biologist, also failed to reveal where these buffalo were. In what corner of Yellowstone were a thousand buffalo hiding? How convenient that this “mistake” is revealed when it’s time for them to kill again.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/16/countering-the-buffalo-killing-agenda/

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