Why Buffalo Should be Protected by the Endangered Species Act

After many years of battles it is hard to say that management of Yellowstone Park bison by the federal government and the state of Montana has improved. Almost every winter there is a slaughter just north of the Park, and sometimes to the west of the Park and even inside the Park. This winter there is a scheduled “cull” of 900 (1) bison.

We have written many news stories and analyses of the contradictions, the blatant state of Montana falsehoods, and sad results of this management.

An excerpt from a letter to the editor below was published in the Washington Times on Tuesday, Dec. 16 appears below. It is by Stephany J. Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign. Hopefully some D.C. influentials will read it and well as the Times regular readership. Seay is writing about the new Interagency Bison Plan is supposed to appear in the future. She is less than impressed.

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We’ve been given no other choice but to seek Endangered Species Act protection for the Yellowstone buffalo. This important action has been taken by the Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds Project.

Not a single Interagency Bison Management Plan affiliate seems to have the courage to defend wild buffalo — not the park, not Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, not even the tribes. The dastardly management schemes that continue to wage war against buffalo must end. There is no cause or evidence to support this brutal treatment, and none of the actions carried out in vile service to Montana’s livestock interests can be justified. The nonsensical abuse and killing of wild buffalo has become a very bad habit that U.S. taxpayers continue to fund.

Read the rest in the Washington Times.


  1. Ed Loosli Avatar
    Ed Loosli

    900 Yellowstone Bison To Be Slaughtered – Connecting The Dots on Brucellosis


    Stephany: I heartily agree with you and I am hoping thousands of others to join your campaign.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    This Letter to the Editor was published in The Washington Times !!!

    Protect Yellowstone buffalo from hunting season by Stephany Seay.

    Kudos to Stephany and BFC for ably and courageously wielding the truth. Double ‘well-done’ that the effort spired into such a prominent publication, The Washington Times.

    Celebration !

    1. Elk375 Avatar

      It was also published in the today’s Bozeman Chronicle.

  3. Kyle Gardner Avatar
    Kyle Gardner

    Excellent article Stephany! The IBMP is a complete disaster and has done nothing positive for wild bison. Nor are any parties involved with wild bison management (so-called) actually working to protect and rehabilitate these precious creatures. None of the current policies amount to any long-term solution. ESA listing is perhaps our last best hope. Thanks to the BFC for its continuing commitment and energy in this critical cause.

  4. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    It’s an important way to protect them, maybe the only way. And because they are such an iconic indigenous species, they should be protected either by ESA or some kind of special law made just for our unique indigenous species. I love that the prairie grasses evolved with and because of them (and we need to bring that back too). Surely that is important enough to protect?

  5. Stephany Seay Avatar

    Thank you all so much. I cannot believe The Washington Times ran that letter.

    Here is a link to the ESA petition BFC and WWP filed:

    The evidence is astounding!

  6. Garry Rogers Avatar

    GR: Like the Sage Grouse, Buffalo protection will be opposed by Congressional representatives of grazing and mining. By now, everyone should recognize that the term “public lands” is a deceit. The American public lands held by the states and the U. S. government belong to ranchers, miners, and anyone else that wants to use/abuse the land to make a profit. That is, as long as a little of that profit makes it back to our “representatives” in Congress.
    Good article Stephany. I reblogged it and distributed it across the Internet.

  7. Joanne Favazza Avatar
    Joanne Favazza

    Love this quote:

    “Wild bison don’t need a new plan. They need to exist as an indigenous wildlife species fulfilling their ecological role on their native landscape. A listing under the Endangered Species Act is necessary to ensure their survival.”

    Right on, Stephany!

  8. Wolfy Avatar

    I hate to say it, but Garry has a very valid point. If bison have not been listed by now, they never will. The extractive industries will not allow the GOP congress to list new species or even enforce the ESA when it interferes with their interests. And the ESA is broken. We’ve made leaps and bounds in the wrong direction in the last decade or so.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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