WEST YELLOWSTONE: Horse Butte Capture Facility Operation
Before 7:00 a.m. this morning [March 31], the Department of Livestock
nine snowmobiles chased 20 buffalo from the hillside of Horse Butte and
them in their new capture facility. By 8:00 a.m. DOL had chased 9 more
from the mouth of the Madison River into the trap. Buffalo were loaded
trailers and transported to the Duck Creek capture facility for testing.
One volunteer locked her neck to the cattle guard with a
bike lock in order to stop
transportation of the captive buffalo to the Duck Creek capture facility
She was cut free and arrested. Her name is unavailable for release.
volunteer was arrested at the Duck Creek capture facility in an attempt
the gates to the facility shut to prevent buffalo from being loaded from
into the facility. His name was not available at the time of release.
Five buffalo released from Duck Creek Capture Facility
Last night, March 30, volunteers released 5 buffalo from the Duck Creek
facility, which is located 50 feet from the boundary of Yellowstone
buffalo liberators were able to escort the freed buffalo to safety
Illegal Hazing Operations within Bald Eagle Nesting
Hazing buffalo off designated trails within 1/4 mile of an active bald
eagle nest site
violates guidelines that protect the nest site. DOL snowmobiles were
as they drove up and down the hill off-trail hazing buffalo into the
Hebgen Lake Ranger District of the Forest Service was not informed of
off-trail hazing activities according to Gene Hardin, the Forest Service
available this morning. The DOL is required to ask the Forest Service
permission to break their restrictions on off-trail hazing. Gallatin
Officer with badge #637 and other officers who were on site watched the
haze buffalo within the eagle closure but did not enforce the closure.
Hazing on the Madison River before 10:00 a.m. violates
the guidelines for hazing
set out by the permit. Activities associated with the removal of bison
within 1/4 mile of open water on the Madison arm and upper Madison River
only be permitted between 10:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. in order to protect the
radius around a bald eagle nest.
Fish Wildlife and Parks biologists who are monitoring
the bald eagle nest which is
located within 1/4 mile of the capture facility have documented that the
active. Two other active bald eagle nest sites are on the Butte.
Livestock operations in the area are required to follow a set of
hazing near the three nest sites and eagle feeding areas on the Butte.
of restrictions are that the DOL must receive the approval of the Forest
prior to any hazing activities within 1/4 mile of one of the nests.
"Obviously when the DOL decides they want to kill
buffalo, all protections for other
wildlife fall to the wayside. The DOL has no incentive to care for
bald eagles or buffalo, when cattle interests are at stake," stated Sue
Background: The Gallatin National Forest, particularly
in the Horse Butte area,
provides critical winter habitat for Yellowstone wildlife, particularly
the warm south-facing slopes of Horse Butte provide the most plentiful
forage for migrating buffalo. There have been over 30 buffalo grazing on
exposed ground on the Butte within a half mile radius of the capture
Horse Butte is a peninsula on Hebgen Lake, NW of West
Yellowstone, and is an
active bald eagle nesting site. Biologists with the Montana Department
Wildlife and Parks have been daily documenting eagle nesting activity.
also provides habitat for additional threatened and endangered species
the grizzly bear and peregrine falcon.
The facility is located within 1/4 mile of a bald eagle
nest, which is actively used
by a pair of bald eagles. The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a
authorizing a "take" of the nest, which will allow the impact of
facility to displace eagles from nest site and render the site inactive.
permit to the nest was issued assuming that construction of the facility
complete during nesting season, which began February 1. Construction of
facility involves heavy machinery, soil disturbance, a generator and
that illuminate the area at night.
The state of Montana has requested up to $500,000 per
year from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the operation of the bison trap for
purpose of protecting its brucellosis-free status (a status given by the
states which have no brucellosis in their cattle herds). However, the
not have the legal authority to revoke Montana's status based solely on
presence of potentially exposed wildlife in the state.
The facility will capture and test buffalo who migrate
to the peninsula. The
agencies claim that the operation of the capture facility will help with
need" to reduce bison mortality. However, in the winter of 1996-1997,
the use of
these facilities sent hundreds of buffalo to slaughter. All pregnant
regardless of whether they test positive for brucellosis, will be
slaughter. All other buffalo testing positive will be shipped to
More than half of the buffalo captured in a similar trap
at Duck Creek this year by
the DOL have been slaughtered while only 13% have actually carried
Only culture tests determine if an animal is actually
infected with brucellosis.
Such tests are conducted at the slaughterhouse by the US Animal and
Health Inspection Service (APHIS). According to APHIS, only 2 of the
buffalo slaughtered this winter actually carried the disease. Video
request. Scanned still photos available.
Buffalo Field Campaign
(formerly Buffalo Nations)
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
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