Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) has released a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on the translocation of quarantined Yellowstone bison and is seeking your input through January 12, 2010. MFWP’s preferred alternative outlines the agency’s intention to hand over 74 Yellowstone bison to billionaire Ted Turner, setting the dangerous precedent of commercializing public bison.
MFWP also proposes to transfer an additional 14 of the quarantined Yellowstone bison to Wyoming’s Guernsey State Park. .
These Yellowstone buffalo have been held captive for five years in a quarantine feasibility study jointly run by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA's APHIS) and MFWP to produce "disease-free" Yellowstone bison for conservation and recovery of American bison as a wildlife species, to repopulate public and tribal lands with “disease-free” Yellowstone bison. This stated goal is the reason the U.S. Congress funded millions for the experiment. BFC has strongly opposed quarantine, alternatively advocating for wild bison to be naturally restored on their historic range via protected habitat and migration corridors.
The translocation of Yellowstone bison to private interests (Ted Turner/Turner Enterprises, Inc.) runs absolutely contrary to the intent of the Quarantine Feasibility Study and should be rejected as an alternative.
Turner is a commercial entity: if the quarantined Yellowstone bison go to him, they belong to him. Instead, these quarantined Yellowstone bison must be removed from the quarantine facility and relocated to suitable public and/or tribal lands where they can live out their lives like the wildlife species they are.
The Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana submitted a proposal for obtaining these Yellowstone buffalo, and they've been working on bringing Yellowstone buffalo home for years. Why would the State of Montana and the U.S. government deny them this opportunity, and instead privatize some of America’s last wild buffalo for the commercial gains of Ted Turner?
Wherever they end up, these Yellowstone bison will be held in quarantine for an additional five to ten years of captivity and handling for the original members of this study - a fate that seriously compromises and diminishes the wild integrity of these Yellowstone bison.
TAKE ACTION!Comments should be sent by January 12, 2010. Below are sample talking points to help you craft your comments. Follow the simple steps below and your comments will be automatically sent to MFWP's Bison Translocation personnell. Personalized comments are the ones that will count the most, so please use the talking points and supported information as guidelines only. You can also mail your comments to:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
Brief History of study: USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services (USDA's APHIS VS) and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP) started a Quarantine Feasibility Study to develop procedures and protocols from quarantining bison as a means of non-lethal removal and to repopulate tribal and public herds in North America. Phase I consisted, in part, of collecting calves from the wild, testing them for brucellosis, and culling bison showing an immune response to brucellosis exposure. Phase II/III consisted, in part, of breeding, testing, and culling bison that survived testing. Phase IV would consist of placing bison in new locations to be tested, bred, and culled according to quarantine standards. The following comments have been drafted for you to personalize and persuade decision makers where these bison should go.