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Group Expresses Buffalo Love in Yellowstone Region

PHOTO: Rallies, marches and candlelight vigils have been held all week in honor of Yellowstone National Park's bison. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
PHOTO: Rallies, marches and candlelight vigils have been held all week in honor of Yellowstone National Park's bison. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
February 13, 2015

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - Rallies, marches and candlelight vigils have been held all week in honor of Yellowstone National Park bison.

Stephany Seay, media coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign, has helped organize the events to raise awareness about the hundreds of animals killed each year just for moving beyond the boundaries of the park. Her group wants that to stop.

"Our message, since it's Valentine's Day, is to love the buffalo and let them roam," she said. "We really want the Park Service to stop participating in the destruction of these gentle giants."

Her organization reports that 425 animals have been killed so far this winter, and more than 200 are being held in a trap inside Yellowstone National Park. She said it's expected they will be sent to slaughter. Many ranchers and some property owners object to the animals roaming outside of the park because of concerns about possible disease transmission to livestock and other damage.

Seay said there is a move to limit the number of animals inside the park to 3,000, which she said isn't a large enough number to support genetic diversity.

"We really want the Park Service to stop participating in the destruction of these gentle giants," she said, "and to fulfill their obligation to the buffalo and to the American people by protecting and defending them."

She said wild bison are migratory animals, so it's in their nature to move beyond Yellowstone boundaries in the winter in search of better quality food.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY