Committed to restoring buffalo
(bison) on public land managed by states and the US Government
You Can Do To Help
are asking for your help in convincing national, state,
county, and municipal agencies and organizations to accept
the reestablishment of one of America’s great national
symbols. In the 1800’s there were 60 million free
ranging buffalo on America’s Great Plains and in
its mountains. These massive animals were the main sustenance
of the American Plains Indians. Due to massive slaughter
by European settlers, by 1890 there were fewer than 1,000
buffalo. By 1902, there were only 23 buffalo left in
Yellowstone National Park (YNP). This herd has now grown
to more than 4,000 buffalo.
Are These Buffalo Special?
management does not allow these growing herds of buffalo
(bison) to move outside the Yellowstone National
Park (YNP) boundaries. The states of Montana, Wyoming
and Idaho border the national park where the traditional
seasonal buffalo range is located. There are many 1000’s
of buffalo owned by private ranches in the United States
but this is the location of the only herds of free ranging
wild buffalo that are wildlife and not managed like livestock
with fencing, inoculations and selective breeding.
limited habitat available in YNP is currently estimated
to sustainably support only 2,000 — 2,200 buffalo
according to retired YNP biologist Mary Meagher. In 2005-06
there are approximately 4,900 animals. This is about
3,000 more animals than there is food available. Due
to high altitude and heavy snow cover, YNP is not suitable
habitat for bison. They follow old migration patterns
and leave the national park searching for grass. As they
cross this artificial boundary they are hazed back into
the national park, corralled and slaughtered or shot.
to population increases in the early 1990’s, which
caused buffalo to seek new habitat, the State of Montana
instated a hunting season which drew national attention
and protests. Using various means of management, over
1000 buffalo were killed during this time. The State
of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Department was removed
from management of the species and the Department of
Livestock was given management responsibilities. In 2005 — 06,
another attempt was made to have the public harvest buffalo
with a hunting season allowing 50 buffalo to be killed
in a regular hunting season. Protesters have documented
and recorded the hunting season but have not interfered.
This has not been enough to reduce the herd and almost
600 additional animals have been captured and sent to
management of the Yellowstone National Park buffalo herd
has been under the control of the Montana Department
of Livestock, the National Park Service, the US Department
of Homeland Security and APHIS (Animal and Plant Protection
Health Inspection Services). It is as if the animal that
is one of America’s greatest symbols, is being
treated as if they were a terrorist threat. It seems
as if some of these agency employees perpetuate a myth
of brucellosis in the public eye in order to keep the
bureaucracy going, and thus job protection for themselves.
Some people think the real issue is cattlemen fearing
that fences will be broken and grass will be eaten by
the buffalo before their cattle can get to it. ABF supports
transferring the management of buffalo back to the Montana
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the agency that
manages all the other native game and non-game species
current management conflict results from a fear by stock
growers that their cattle will be infected by brucellosis
which causes cows to abort their first born calf. It
costs money to inoculate against brucellosis as well
as the fear that the states will lose their “brucellosis
free” status for all their cattle shipped out of
state. Once this status is lost, all cattle must be tested
if sold and if they are shipped across state lines. Although
recently Wyoming lost its brucellosis free status, no
other state veterinarians have refused to accept their
cattle. The situation has been further complicated by
evidence that wild elk living outside Yellowstone National
Park have transmitted brucellosis to cattle.
is a seasonally contagious disease with the window of
transmission from birthing material lasting from approximately
March 15 to June 1 each year. Livestock are not allowed
onto public lands until July 1 in the greater Yellowstone
ecosystem. Reproductive age female domestic cows are
the class of livestock susceptible of contracting the
disease. Replacing them with brucellosis-proof cattle
such as steers, yearlings, spayed heifers and cows to
be slaughtered in the fall are a practical way to continue
permitting domestic livestock on buffalo ranges. Temporary
and special separation can also be a successful management
tool. Wildlife ranges, by tradition are not fenced and
ABF will support that policy where possible for bison.
To be fenced artificially by management or by actual
fences takes the “wild” out of wild buffalo.
The fate of our wild free roaming Yellowstone buffalo
must be decided now. After that is accomplished, the
rest of the nation will feel free to follow.
the fear by stock growers over possibly infectious disease,
is the fact that buffalo eat a lot of grass and forage
and do not respect fences. It is understandable that
ranchers do not want to have to feed bison on their private
lands or repair fences damaged by buffalo.
For Wild Buffalo
will begin the recovery of this native animal by allowing
Yellowstone National Park buffalo to seasonally move
out of the park and onto publicly owned lands that are
part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. There is no
scientific reason to continue the zero tolerance policy
of capture, test, hazing, quarantine, and slaughter of
buffalo walking out of the Yellowstone National Park
looking for winter forage to survive. Buffalo are a stolid
gregarious animal that essentially do not fear man. They
need large spaces to develop groupings, hard leaders
and grazing patterns.
takes neither a pro nor anti hunting position. The concern
of ABF is with wild bison herds and bison habitat which
are inseparable. It is our intention to help foster a
national consensus on the importance of maintaining wild,
free ranging and genetically viable core herds of the
species named bison bison also known as the American
is the intent of the Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation to help
and facilitate the raising of funds for the purchase
of certain buffalo grazing lands and migration corridors
where buffalo may disburse. This may include lands not
immediately adjacent to Yellowstone National Park but
on the Great Plains. ABF also supports the purchase of
cattle grazing leases on public lands and cattle on private
lands adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation is a tax exempt 501 c3 organization.
Please consider a donation to help preserve the last
of the genetically pure wild free roaming buffalo (bison
bison) remaining in the United States of America.
(leader of the herd)
may be sent to:
Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation
304 N 18th Ave
Bozeman, MT 59715
American Buffalo Foundation was formed in January 1991
in Bozeman, Montana.
The name was changed to Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation in August 2008.