It was quite the eventful end to this year’s Yellowstone bison slaughter, with 600 bison — more than anticipated — removed from the herds and a protester arrested and released after blocking the entrance to the Stephens Creek bison trap for two hours.
Originally, it was estimated that between 300 and 600 bison would be targeted for slaughter and removal, and the end result obviously was at the highest end of the estimate. The removal of 600 bison leaves approximately 4,000 Yellowstone National Park bison. Hunters killed 100 bison from the north boundary area and an additional 64 bison from the west boundary area. Another 258 bison were sent to tribal partners for nutritional and cultural purposes, and 60 bison were transferred to UDSA-APHIS for an ongoing research project.
The cooperating agencies operating under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the InterTribal Buffalo Council, the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes, and the Nez Perce Tribe. This year half of the removal was conducted through capture and consignment from the Stephens Creek capture facility in Yellowstone National Park.
Speaking of the Stephens Creek capture facility: it was the scene of some high drama Thursday when its access road was blocked by 22-year-old Comfrey Jacobs, seeking to shut down the Yellowstone bison slaughter by chaining himself to a concrete-filled 55-gallon barrel.
Members of Buffalo Field Campaign were present to document and lend support.
His action delayed the Yellowstone bison slaughter for two hours after Jacobs and the barrel was removed via front loader. A welder later broke the chains; Jacobs was detailed at the Mammoth jail and later released after being charged with disorderly conduct, breaking the Stephens Creek closure, and interfering with a government operation.
“I have no regrets,” Jacobs said via press release. “I accept all the consequences of my actions and hope it raises awareness on this issue.”
This is the first time a citizen has exercised civil disobedience at Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek bison trap.
“I belive year-round habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Montana is the solution for wild bison population management, not genetically damaging and limiting the herds through slaughter or constant harassment and abuse through hazing operations,” Jacobs said.
“Comfrey Jacobs is a hero to a whole lot of people,” said BFC’s Executive Director Dan Brister. “He has given hope and inspiration to thousand of people who are upset by the slaughter of America’s last wild buffalo.”