Elizabeth Neville, Global Animal
A group of wild bison roamed out of Yellowstone National Park, searching for food… and they could be killed for it.
Millions of bison once roamed the United States. Now, the remnants of these historic herds exist in limited numbers, most of whom live in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone has experienced a harsh winter this year, obstructing the food supply for the bison. This caused them to seek nourishment at lower elevations, such as the Gallatin National Forest in Montana.
Now, 400 of these wild bison, some of the last of their historic bloodline, are corralled in Gardiner, Montana, waiting for federal officials to decide whether they will live or die.
The Montana Department of Livestock wants them dead, claiming that the bison will eat grass needed for their ranchers’ animals and spread the disease brucellosis to their cattle. However, there has never been a documented case of brucellosis transfer between cattle and bison.
All of the bison are currently being tested for brucellosis. Those who test positive will certainly be executed. Even the brucellosis-free bison could be slaughtered, though, as the corrals are only designed to hold 400 bison, and federal agents have been aggressive in their efforts to imprison every animal that strays away from Yellowstone National Park.
Ruminants such as bison are vital for maintaining a balanced ecosystem in the region. Scientists claim that multiple herds of over 1,000 bison each are imperative to their survival as a species, and for the preservation of their habitat. Bison conservation is continually obstructed, however, as our own National Park Service and Forest Service keep hazing, and often killing, these animals whenever they leave Yellowstone.
If you believe that the bison should be able to roam freely in America’s wilderness, especially into National Forests, without fear of execution, sign the petition to urge Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to find an alternative to killing these rare and important animals.