The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Call for a United Front Against a Common “Enemy” – April 29, 2010

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on April 29, 2010


I want to be perfectly clear about this: I am NOT totally against cattle grazing and grazers. What and who I am against are the grazers who take advantage of the situation and therefore cause bodily harm, injury, and death to the NATIVE wildlife and the horses because they are causing an inconvenience.

In this spirit, I want to bring to light a situation that has come to my attention: the Bison of Yellowstone and their annual hazing. Apparently – from what I can gather so far – every May the Montana Department of Agriculture or Wildlife conducts a hazing of the bison near Horse Butte. This is also a bison calving area, and the bison apparently have their calves in late April to May. So when this occurs (this year is May 15th) basically we have another Calico type situation.  There are bison who are still pregnant, barely newborns, and some who are maybe a month old. Last year, I don’t think that there were any bison killed. The year before that I’ve been told that 1600 bison were killed, either as a result of the hazing or by the Park Rangers themselves. The hazing consists of these bison, along with their newborns, getting “hazed” back into park territory by rangers and wildlife agents swooping down in helicopters, on horseback and riding ATVs. Again, this is sounding all too familiar, but it actually gets worse. The reasoning behind this – I am told – is that ranchers in Montana worry that if the buffalo leave Yellowstone’s boundaries, they might pass a disease called brucellosis to their cattle. These cattle – again, this is what I am being told at this point – these cattle graze on public land AUMs under grazing permits. This situation is VERY familiar. As the wild horse advocates and the bison advocates seem to have a “common enemy”, I felt that it was only fitting that we band together and make two parties one really big party, all against the same thing: stop meddling with Mother Nature, allow the wildlife to remain where they are supposed to be. If we can stand as one group instead of two, we would have strengthened numbers and could make an even bigger cry. To this end, I have compiled a little bit of information about this subject. I think you just might find even more similarities than you think. Heck, I even found  more than I thought I would.       

Please keep in mind that I have not researched this issue as deeply as I do my other posts. As much as I hate to say it, I am simply too overloaded currently to get any deeper at the moment, but I wanted to get at least something out to you guys now instead of waiting. If you have information that is more accurate or more current, PLEASE post comments to that end and/or let me know so that I can make the appropriate changes. As always, we are in the pursuit of truth, facts, and evidence, for it is only by these principles that we can be effective toward our cause.      

T.    

 

   

  

This image is from the National Park Service website (nps.gov). It has not been altered in any way. You may view the original image at http://www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/bison.htm

 

Brucellosis: (Brucella melitensis, abortus, suis, and canis) General, technical fact sheets, additional information from the CDC     

Brucellosis from Public Health Response and Preparedness, CDC     

USDA – APHIS – Animal Health – Brucellosis     

Brucellosis and Yellowstone Bison from APHIS     

Brucellosis     

Cattle Diseases Brucellosis from Cattle Today     

Brucellosis in Cattle – The Merck Veterinary Manual     

Brucellosis Bovine brucellosis is almost always transmitted from herd to herd through the movement of infected cattle. Cows shed large numbers of organisms when they…     

CDFA > AHFSS > Animal Health Branch > Brucellosis Brucellosis is a contagious disease of livestock that also affects humans. The disease is also known as contagious abortion or Bang’s disease in livestock.     

New brucellosis “hot spots” found in Yellowstone area 5 hours ago (April 29, 2010, 8:04p.m. CST) That means containing the park’s bison and getting rid of the feeding grounds might not be enough to stop brucellosis transmissions to cattle in Idaho… The Salt Lake Tribune     

Brucellosis Missoula Independent Matthew Frank – Apr 22, 2010      

Elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem appear to be increasingly affected by brucellosis, a bacterial infection that causes cattle, elk and bison to abort…     

Future of elk hunting in Montana is in jeopardy Great Falls Tribune Vito QuatraroApr 17, 2010 Everyone has read of the controversy regarding whether, in fact, there has ever been a documented case of bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle…     

USDA: No known brucellosis infections in U.S. cattle     

Yellowstone Bison Hazing and Slaughter from HSUS     

Yellowstone Bison (from nps.gov) Bison are enjoyed by visitors, celebrated by conservationists, and revered by Native Americans. Why are they a management challenge? One reason is that about half of Yellowstone’s bison have been exposed to brucellosis, a bacterial disease that came to this continent with European cattle and may cause cattle to abort their first pregnancy after exposure to Brucella bacteria. The disease has few population level effects. Outside the park wild bison from the Yellowstone population have not been known to transmit brucellosis to a visitor or to domestic livestock. The State of Montana believes its “brucellosis-free” status may be jeopardized if bison commingle with cattle. The risk of Yellowstone bison transmitting brucellosis to nearby livestock is very low. However, if livestock are infected, ranchers can be prevented from shipping livestock out of state until stringent testing and quarantine requirements are met. Some elk in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem also carry the disease.    

The National Academy of Sciences has issued a report concerning Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area.  

Final Environmental Impact Statement Related to the Interagency Bison Management Plan, (FEIS)     

Public Meeting Posters – Series of slides shown at public meetings to discuss the remote delivery of Brucellosis vaccine to free-ranging bison in Yellowstone National Park     

The Interagency Bison Management Plan is a new website created by the Interagency Plan Partners to put all documents and information about the plan in one place.     

Questions About Bison     

Interagency Bison Management Plan Operating Procedures (827 Kb pdf)     

2008 Adaptive Management Procedures (1.7 MB pdf)     

2008 Annual Report (2.7 MB pdf)     

The Ecology of Bison Movements and Distribution In and Beyond Yellowstone – April 2005     

Bison Site Bulletin (1.3MB pdf)     

The Eventual Elimination of Brucellosis from Greater Yellowstone Wildlife – 6/27/2003    

A Status Review of Adaptive Management Elements, 2000 to 2005 (269KB pdf)    

Historic Bison Study – 1973    

Final Bison Management EIS    

Other sources of information      

 See Bison under the Yellowstone Resources and Issues Handbook, Wildlife Section  

Buffalo Field Campaign   

The Last Lonesome Place     

Greater Yellowstone Science Learning Center’s website section on bison      

From Born Free USA: H.R. 3446 Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act  (Columbia University Analysis Report of H.R. 3446 Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act)  

 Purpose: This bill would protect the Yellowstone buffalo herd from slaughter by allowing the buffalo to roam freely on federal lands outside of Yellowstone Park.     

Status: Referred to House Committee on Resources, which referred it to three separate subcommittees (National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands; Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans; and Forests and Forest Health). Executive Comment Requested from Interior.    

Action: SUPPORT. Buffalo are a significant wildlife icon in the U.S. and must be protected from slaughter. The Yellowstone buffalo move to lower elevations to forage for food in the winter but, instead of finding food when they leave the Park, the buffalo are chased, trapped, and killed. While the purported reason for killing the buffalo is the fear of the spread of brucellosis from the buffalo to nearby cattle, there hasn’t been a single documented case of brucellosis being transmitted from wild bison to livestock. It is time to embrace the science on this issue and to provide some protection to the Yellowstone bison.    

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13 Responses to “Call for a United Front Against a Common “Enemy” – April 29, 2010”

  1. sandra longley said

    everyone who has a face book page should post the take action petion for the buffalo..its about time we did this..its the same issue we are fighting in respect to the horses..and the situation is even more deadly for the buffalo..I watched a disturbing video of buffalo being herded in the park by helicopter and atvs in the dead of winter in deep snow onto a ice covered river-where many drowned when the ice collapsed and they pulled the bodies out with the ATVs..I say lets go get em!

  2. sandra longley said

    I agree with T..we always have to keep in mind that only 3% of the cattle industry use our public lands and that 3% is dictating the destruction of our buffalo and wild horses..If there are private land ranchers who adjoin the buffalo lands, maybe we need to know who they are..do yu see any cows on coins? are they a symbol of the american west? are they fast disappearing from the landscape..wolves were eliminated because of the ranchers..slowly but surely we are headed down that road…One hard winter as stated by the USGS-can be estimated to kill 49% of the wild horses, what does it do to the the buffalo? when the snow is up to their backs they try to leave the park- when they can no longer dig for food..only to be shot once they hit the hills outside the park..its a massacre

  3. Linda said

    From much of what I’ve read, elk are by far the strongest suspects for transmitting Brucellosis to cattle AND buffalo. So why make buffalo the scapegoats? You don’t have to look any further than the interests of hunters and ranchers.

    I don’t know whether this link is on the list, but, if you can wade through the reports and understand at least some of the science, it provides some valuable information.

    This is the general reference:
    http://www.nps.gov/gyibc/reference.htm
    The White Paper is at the bottom.

    This is the in-depth experimentation that I believe was used to generate the White Paper:
    http://www.nps.gov/gyibc/inspectr.htm

    Again and again, the elk come up as being much more of a threat than the bison. The fact that imported European cattle infected the wildlife to begin with (in the early 1900’s) is mentioned in passing, but begs the question: Are infected domestic cattle perpetuating a cycle that leads to their own destruction?

    Of course, elk hunters are up in arms against any threat to their sport from another species. Heaven help they should be restricted from removing the strongest and best animals from the gene pool. But that’s another story for another day.

  4. Tom Mosher said

    You forgot the Wolf advocates too there Darling. I’m so going to tell Richard you forgot to include him and his furry little friends. Well done as always. Sorry for the incorrect info I gave you earlier. BFC gives the number killed last year at 7 and winter of 08-09 at 1616 killed. Total killed 1985 to 2009 = 6631. The majority weren’t killed as a result of hazing or by Rangers. Most were killed in the slaughterhouse. Montana by the way lost it’s brucellosis free status over a year ago when an ELK infected a bovine here in Paradise Valley. Kind of makes one wonder what the true reason for still wondering down this path of stupidity be.

    • R. Thompson said

      My wolves are not forgotten, trust me. I’m the one who sent *T* the Buffalo info…which I know you know has been an issue, however escoteric, with someone we both know right there in “River City.”

      The insanity of wildlife management never ceases to amaze me, as it appears to be more husbandry for human use than wildlife preservation. The current observations of the ISPMB on “elder absense” negative impact and gentic distoriton caused by arbitrary “management” is well documented a couple decades ago…in Africa of all places, with Elephants. There it really backfired…bunch of humans got killed and villages terrorized. It is also covered by L David Mech in his studies of wolves vis a vis reproductive rates.

      It is all the same war of sorts, re-learning the same lessons over and over.

  5. LOUIE COCROFT said

    I’M ALL FOR A UNITED FRONT. WHERE DO WE SIGN UP?

  6. LOUIE COCROFT said

    WHERE IS THE PETITION. DID I MISS IT?

  7. reveil39 said

    Native wildlife needs serious protection and FAIR regulation, not just for the interests of a few.

  8. Ahem! It was the domestic cattle that gave Brucellosis to the Buffalo in the first place!

    • reveil39 said

      Most diseases attributed to wild animals seem to originate in domesticated or captive animals.
      Kind of makes sense.

  9. LOUIE COCROFT said

    I DON’T THINK NORTH AMERICA EVEN HAD FLIES BEFORE THE SETTLERS MOVED WEST AND NATIVE AMERICANS DIDN’T HAVE SMALLPOX, EITHER.

  10. LOUIE COCROFT said

    DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE MOVIE FROM THE LATE 60’S OR EARLY 70’S, ABOUT THE KIDS TRYING TO SAVE THE BUFFALO. THE THEME SONG WAS “BLESS THE BEASTS AND THE CHILDREN”–KEEP THEM SAFE AND KEEP THEM WARM–AND FREE FROM HARM. IT WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE TIME OF THE MOVIE AND SONG “BORN FREE”. IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF AN AWAKENING. THESE THINGS TAKE TIME AND IT TAKES A CERTAIN STEADFASTNESS AND DETERMINATION.

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