Buffalo Roam Into Controversy

The privatization of public bison has spurred quite the controversy in Montana

Buffalo Bull © Ken Cole

The insanity of bison mis-management in and around Yellowstone National Park has prompted the privatization of this iconic wildlife species.

Buffalo Roam Into Controversy ~ (Audio) ~ NPR – On Point

Bison from the park have been hazed and quarantined for ‘study’ under the promise that they would later be released.  But where ?

When the government conducted environmental analysis of the quarantine facility, privatization of bison was taken off the table – public advocates were promised that bison would be held in the public trust for all to enjoy, and that they’d remain that way.

Now, years later, genetically significant Yellowstone bison are being handed over to a private billionaire, Ted Turner, who will be allowed to do with the bison as he wishes, including for private, commercial purposes.

An avatar of the western American landscape reduced to chattel ~ livestock, and another glaring example of the failure of the IBMP to bring about a meaningful restoration of American bison to the public landscape*.

*There remains a whole lot of public land in the west, even surrounding Yellowstone National Park, that is currently ‘off-limits’ to bison given Livestock’s predominant status and political control of our common public lands ~ and grass.







  1. Jane Fritz Avatar
    Jane Fritz

    Today I played for seven kids in juvenile detention in Bonner County as part of a visiting writers series a lengthy radio story I did for NPR on the bison slaughter back in 1997.

    They were so curious and interested. They asked me what was the animal’s current status and I answered with the best knowledge that I had — hazing, killing. But privatization was far from my mind! This is simply wrong. The last wild buffalo in Yellowstone deserve to be wild. Have we learned nothing over the past 13 years about saving these animals?

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Brian Ertz