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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition reporting on the 62 pure American Bison that were translocated from Yellowstone Park to the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana..........The 4800 acres of Ft. Peck in combination with the nearby Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation are home to the first herds to leave the Greater Yellowston region in generations...........More translocations are being planned as the GYC joins other conservation groups and Indian tribes in spreading the magnificent Bison across larger sections of its historic Montana homeland..............The next step is to make sure Wolves also call all of this landscape home as well so the age old dance of predator and prey plays out so as to make both the bison and the wolf as strong as they can be

Yellowstone Bison: Another historic day

For more than a half-century, Yellowstone bison were the only wildlife in the U.S. largely confined by the boundary lines of a national park. But a dramatic and poignant change took place Monday, March 19, 2012, when 62 Yellowstone bison long held in quarantine pens were relocated to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana.

pure Bison in the Greater Yellowstone

Fort Peck has set aside 4,800 acres for bison (nearby Fort Belknap Indian Reservation has plans to allow additional Yellowstone bison to roam on 22,000 acres). These are the first herds to leave the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem alive in generations. The decision to move Yellowstone bison out of the GYE to the two reservations is an important step toward breaking the stigma around the animal's association with the disease brucellosis. These bison are some of the most intensely tested wildlife in the country and have been repeatedly proven to be disease-free.

In addition, before the tribes could receive Yellowstone bison, they had to show they have contingency plans to protect surrounding property. A few days after the 62 arrived at Fort Peck (64 started the journey, but two died), a judge prohibited the shipment of the animals in Montana, but it's still just a matter of time before more Yellowstone bison are moved to appropriate landscapes across the West.

Until last year, when bison left the deep snows of Yellowstone's interior in search of forage, they had been harassed back into the park or rounded up for slaughter by the Montana Department of Livestock because of fears of transmitting brucellosis to cattle. However, major shifts to the way Yellowstone bison are managed are under way.

Wolves hunting Bison

In April 2011, the State of Montana, federal government and regional tribes agreed in principle to allow Yellowstone bison to roam freely on 75,000 acres across the Gardiner Basin north of the park. This was a dramatic expansion of an area where only a handful of bison were first allowed to migrate north of the park under a settlement reached in 2008 — and would not have been possible without the deal negotiated by Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) and other groups buying out the Royal Teton Ranch's cattle herd for the next 30 years.

This expanded habitat in Gardiner Basin could be a literal lifesaver for Yellowstone bison during harsh winters, allowing ready access to critical lower-elevation winter range.

A hurdle remains, however. Park County and the Park County Stockgrowers Association, later joined by the Montana Farm Bureau, filed suit against Gov. Schweitzer and Montana wildlife and livestock agencies to prevent bison from roaming in the Gardiner Basin. GYC intervened in this lawsuit to defend the expansion of bison habitat. Despite the lawsuit, many people in the basin support free-roaming bison, and GYC is working with local groups to find ways to protect property, including financial support for fencing. A trial is set for August 2012.

Elsewhere, the State of Montana now plans to allow bison to be on Horse Butte, near West Yellowstone, year-round. And major newspapers in Colorado and South Dakota are calling for the creation of genetically pure conservation herds in national parks and wildlife refuges in those states.

Meanwhile, a year-long citizens working group in which GYC participated concluded in November 2011 with consensus recommendation to the Interagency Bison Management Plan partners to revise the plan. The group included diverse participants from the livestock industry, conservation groups, sportsmen, local residents, and business owners. It recommended specific habitat expansions long advocated by GYC, including making Horse Butte available to bison year-round, opening the Gardiner Basin to bison, and allowing bison into the Taylor Fork and upper Gallatin. The group also supported a focus on vaccinating livestock and not bison, using hunting as a primary population management tool, and pursuing the Montana statewide bison conservation plan. Learn more about the Citizens Working Group here.

In 2007-08, nearly 1,600 wild Yellowstone bison were captured and hauled in trucks for slaughter at meatpacking plants, about one-third of one of the only genetically pure bison herds in America. The transfer of wild Yellowstone bison to Fort Peck, Fort Belknap and other suitable landscapes across the West will help ensure we never see a repeat of this atrocity again.

Our Mission: We are working to allow Yellowstone bison to roam freely on appropriate public and private lands in Greater Yellowstone through policy changes by federal agencies and state wildlife managers, retirements of cattle grazing operations, negotiations with landowners, and contacting state legislators. Bison need champions among elected officials and within state and federal agencies to ensure they are restored to many of their historic grounds.

1 comment:

david annderson said...

This is wonderful news! We as a civilization are really turning a corner!