Kill the Bison. Woops, I mean Save the Bison.

I am becoming more and more convinced that nothing – not one single thing – is as it appears to be.

Take the American Bison, for example. I thought they were still “protected” in some way. Officially, they are not a protected species. But there do exist organizations (such as the Wildlife Conservation Society’s American Bison Society) that are actively engaged in the conservation of the species, in support of larger, free-ranging herds.

Compare and contrast that with the fact that bison in the so-called “Zone 2” outside of Yellowstone National Park are allowed to be hunted, within reason. The hunting of bison is considered a “herd management tool.”

There are conditions, however, that will cause hunting to be suspended, and the government takes over. The policy reads as follows:

6) Enact 24-hour hunting closures, when necessary, to implement other management actions such as hazing, capture, or lethal removal if:

a. Bison numbers exceed 100 in Zone 2 in the West Yellowstone Basin.
b. Bison continue to approach Zone 3 in the West Yellowstone Basin beyond Witts Lake Road or USFS Road 1731.
c. Unable to contain bison within Zone 2 in the West Yellowstone Basin. (Bison that breach Zone 3 will be lethally removed if initial hazing or capture, if attempted, is not successful).
d. Excessive bison egress from YNP, ongoing or imminent, due to snow conditions, extreme weather conditions, or stochastic events.

[From the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Adaptive Management Adjustments in Western Boundary Area]

“Lethal elimination,” if it’s not obvious, means killing. 7,189 bison have been lethally eliminated since 1985, by federal and state agencies. This, for such grievances as… looking like they’re about to head down out of the hills due to extreme snow conditions. You know, looking for food. That kind of offense.

Huh? Isn’t this like trying to fill a tub, with the drain open? Only, it’s not a tub, it’s a herd of bison, and it’s not water, it’s blood.

Ummm, people, if you want us to raise money for a cause, like “Save the Bison,” you shouldn’t have alternative programs going on to kill the bison. Or… before you give your hard-earned money to a cause, find out whether there’s some equally well-funded cause working exactly against what you’re trying to do. It may be that the money is better directed in other ways.

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