Essays (opinion or Informational)
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February 5, 2009. Glenn Hockett of Gallatin Wildlife Association reports that HB 253 has failed in committee. This is very unfortunate and evidence again that Montana government does not support wild bison. Thanks to all the Montanans who do; supporters of HB 253 outnumbered detractors by 4 to 1 during the recent committee hearing.
The Greater Yellowstone Region is home to America's largest genetically pure and truly wild buffalo herd. Buffalo symbolize the natural and cultural heritage of Yellowstone and the West. It is time to manage wild buffalo as valued, native wildlife in Montana. Join us in making a commitment to restoring and conserving wild buffalo populations in Montana.
On January 5, 2009, I was a participant in a march on behalf of the wild buffalo population in Yellowstone National Park, animals who have been denied year round habitat in the state of Montana. The action, sponsored by Buffalo Field Campaign and Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, was in Helena and was targeted at the swearing in of the state legislature and Gov. Brian Schweitzer, under whose watch the greatest wild buffalo slaughter since the 19th century has happened. It was in support of the Montana Wild Buffalo Recovery & Conservation Act of 2009, which calls for shifting management of wild bison from the Montana Department of Livestock to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks so that bison are managed as wildlife instead of as animals in need of disease control.
Buffalo Allies of Bozeman has been consistently against the Royal Teton Ranch deal. We believe this deal does not actually provide habitat for bison (since most bison are not allowed on the land and all will be forced back into Yellowstone after April 15); it also provides for awful treatment for those few bison allowed for a short time on this land. It's simply a handout to the Church Universal & Triumphant to the tune of $3.3 million to make the IBMP partners and allied groups look as though they are doing something beneficial for buffalo when in fact the torture and slaughter continues.
Some other environmental groups are supporting the plan, and you may have received an email from at least one of them urging you to support the deal. Our local allies, Buffalo Field Campaign and Gallatin Wildlife Association, have joined us in opposing the deal.
We would urge otherwise, but however you feel about it, the FWP commissioners are meeting again today to try and approve the plan. That meeting is at 4 PM. In Bozeman, you can join the meeting in person at 4 PM today at the FWP Region 3 building at 1400 S. 19th.
The map on the left, courtesy of Buffalo Field Campaign, shows bison herds and migrations inside of and outside of Yellowstone National Park. All the problems with and all the inspiration we have of buffalo herds must take these migrations into account.
Humans have an issue with migration because the variance in movement often comes against boundaries that humans have set up. Many Americans have trouble with the migration of people, especially from Mexico, who are often escaping the economic boundaries placed on their own existence by global trade policies - many of them promoted by American politicians. Boundaries create boundaries, and the consequences of the boundaries often create unexpected movements. In 1872, Congress set aside Yellowstone National Park, with boundaries that have not changed a great deal since then. No one could communicate with the animals those boundaries, but each animal has had its movement impacted by those boundaries and others.