Spring Arrives, and Buffalo in the Trap are Released

The latest IBMP report is out and the big news is that Yellowstone has kept their word and released the 803 buffalo they were holding in the trap.

A young buffalo looks out from a chained gate.
An older photo of the buffalo in Stephens Creek capture facility, from when they allowed media tours.

This is cause for a huge celebration, and as the grass greens, the snow disappears, and new calves appear, we celebrate with the buffalo, and give thanks for the hardy survivors of this year’s slaughter.

A brand new buffalo calf stands below his or her mother

At the same time, we mourn the losses the buffalo herds suffered this season. In the past two weeks since the last report:

  • 2 buffalo died in the trap before they could be released
  • 33 more buffalo were killed in the “hunt” – the majority of these are listed as “unknown” age and sex, and were not reported by any tribe in particular, so we can be sure there are the deaths of adult pregnant females hiding in that number.

One would think the slaughter would stop, now that the calves are arriving, but we have reports from Gardiner that there are still a few “hunters” around the area. We only hope that the buffalo released from the park’s trap headed south to the safety of the wilds of Yellowstone.

We will continue to update you if these numbers go up, but for now, we hope that the buffalo are left in peace.

As of now, this deadly season for the buffalo looks like this:

  • 1548 buffalo have been removed for the population – 25% of the population.
  • 282 buffalo were sentenced to a life of domestication and captivity through the quarantine program
  • 1266 were killed by mismanagement actions – 21% of the population.
    • 1172 in the “hunt”
    • 88 shipped to slaughter
    • 6 deaths in the trap

This does not include winterkilled buffalo or those who died on the roadways.

This is the most deadly year for the buffalo since 2007/08.

A pie chart shows the breakdown of buffalo eliminated from the population. 68% killed by treaty hunts, 18% sent to quarantine, 6% shipped to slaughter, 5% killed by state hunts, and 2% killed by fatal hunt wounds.

As this deadly season winds down, we are angry at the loss of so so many buffalo, we are frustrated with the games of politics played by humans that should be the buffalo’s allies, and we are committed to continue to speak for the buffalo until they roam free. Now, we breathe the spring air, celebrate the arrival of the calves, and take their boundless energy with us to carry the fight on into the future.