by Dagmar (Eggplant) Spannagel
I grew up in Berkeley in the fifties and sixties, and have been a social and animal activist for most of my adult life. I moved to Montana almost seven years ago to be closer to the wolves and Yellowstone National Park Bison that I love. My heart is heavy with pain because of the war on wildlife in Montana and in other wolf states in the west. As I write this, I am in West Yellowstone, Montana, with Buffalo Field Campaign, trying to bring attention to, and stop the current slaughter of the small population of some 4,000 genetically unique and pure remaining wild bison. This last remaining population survived from the approximately 60,000,000 sacred beasts that were slaughtered in the 1800’s to cut off the food sources of the Plains Indians, so that the Indigenous Peoples could be removed from their land, be put on reservations, and the land settled by Europeans. These Native Americans had, and still have a strong Spiritual relationship with their world, including the animals.
As I write this, over 500 Yellowstone National Park Bison have already been baited and hazed into capture facilities inside Yellowstone National Park by The National Park Service, and shipped to slaughter. They want to capture an additional 400 to 500 of these Sacred wild animals and also ship them to slaughter, This is in addition to the regular hunting season kills and Treaty Hunts. I have already shed my tears for them today. Buffalo Field Campaign needs volunteers to come to West Yellowstone to help to stop this slaughter, as well as to help to get them placed on the Endangered Species Act List.
Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections have been removed from wolves and management turned over to each states’ fish and game agency by a sneaky rider attached to a Congressional Budget Bill which has produced disastrous results. These states are controlled by the livestock, hunting and resource extraction industries, and government officials have a hatred for wolves and bison due to lies, fables, greed and ignorance. Here in Montana, the fourth largest state, with approximately two and one half million cattle, and over half a million sheep, 34 cows, 9 sheep, 1 miniature horse, and 1 dog have been confirmed killed by wolves. Prior to the 1995 Wolf reintroduction, there were 89,000 elk, and yet even with wolves, 2013 elk counts reached 145,000.
Yet despite these small depredation numbers and increased elk numbers, the state of Montana has a 6 month wolf hunting season, and allows trapping with no quotas on how many wolves can be killed. Each hunter can purchase 5 hunting license tags, landowners can shoot up to 100 additional wolves if they are perceived a threat (Total landowners, not each landowner). Montana Fish Wildlife And Parks, the Agency that is supposed to manage wolves, does not use non-lethal management, which haven’t been proven to work, but with USDA Wildlife Services, kills wolves for wolf/livestock conflicts, not only killing individual wolves, but removing full packs, as well as killing pups, known as “denning”, with taxpayer money, for the benefit of the already publicly subsidized livestock industry. Besides all these attacks on wolves, there are cruel and illegal killings by wolf haters such as shooting them in the gut and spine intentionally to cause the most pain. Wyoming and Great Lakes wolves have recently been returned to ESA protections due to their agencies’ mismanagement, and Montana, as well as the worst of all the wolf states, Idaho, need to have their wolves returned to Federal ESA protection to stop this carnage.
The Bison and the wolf have been proven to have tremendous benefits to their habitats, and to the other wildlife that live there, bringing health and balance to these ecosystems, so we must all fight to protect them. People that love wildlands, wilderness, and wildlife need to move to these states to bring our love and voice, and to balance out the haters, to save these sacred animals from suffering and extinction, and save these sacred places for perpetuity.
Come out here and make a difference. For more information on how to help and to how to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.