Tag Archives: Yellowstone

Updates from the Buffalo Field Campaign

31 Aug

Public comments needed for year-round wild bison habitat in Montana, and BFC Roadshow announced!

from Buffalo Field Campaign

BullsRoam_BFCseay2011-1The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone’s wild buffalo. Volunteers from around the world defend buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection. Our daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on, and document every move made against them. Volunteers spend all day, from sunrise until sunset, watching and documenting actions taken against the buffalo. We run patrols from cars, skis and snowshoes to protect buffalo outside the park. Tactics range from video documentation to nonviolent civil disobedience.

TAKE ACTION: Comments Due September 13 on Year-Round Habitat

The public comment period is currently open on Montana’s proposal for some year-round bison habitat in both the Hebgen and Gardiner Basins, west and north of Yellowstone National Park. Comments are being accepted until 5pm on September 13, 2013.

Click here to send your comments now, and to review Montana’s Environmental Assessment.

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Stop Yellowstone’s Plans to Slaughter Wild Buffalo in 2013!

26 Dec
Young buffalo bed down on a frosty winter's day.

Young buffalo bed down on a frosty winter’s day.

State, federal, and tribal governments — including Yellowstone National Park –are aiming to kill hundreds of wild buffalo this winter through hunting, slaughter, or both. The agencies state that they want to “even the sex ratio” and have placed a heavy target on female buffalo, wanting to kill at least 400 female buffalo.

Yellowstone National Park states that a “skewed sex ratio” has resulted from years of capture and slaughter operations, which have removed more bulls than cows from the population. In other words the government is saying they will slaughter more buffalo to mitigate the impact of slaughtering so many buffalo.

TAKE ACTION to stop Yellowstone’s plans to slaughter before it starts!

Click here to learn more about volunteering with Buffalo Field Campaign – join us on the front lines with the buffalo!

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!

Yellowstone Wolves Help Trees Rebound

2 Jan


by Matthew Brown

Gray Wolf

BILLINGS,Mont. — Scientists say in a new study that the return of gray wolves has dramatically altered the landscape in portions of Yellowstone National Park by curbing foraging elk herds that prevented new aspen, willow and cottonwood trees from taking root.

Study author William Ripple from Oregon State University said tree stands are expanding in areas where for decades dense elk populations prevented new growth.

Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 and 1996 after being killed off early last century. About 100 now roam the park, and elk numbers have dropped sharply. As fewer elk allows the trees to rebound, Ripple says they are providing new habitat for songbirds and more food for beavers.The findings from Ripple and co-author Robert Beschta will be published in the scientific journal Biological Conservation.

Reposted from Associated Press

Climate Change Insight Gleaned From Yellowstone Wolves

2 Dec

Scientists studying grey wolves in Yellowstone national park have developed a method to predict how animals will respond to climate change.

The discoveries gleaned from the study, published on Thursday in Science, could eventually help scientists discover which animals are more resilient to climate change – and which would be at most immediate risk of extinction.

“We now have the tools to determine how wolves would react to climate change,” said Tim Coulson, a professor of life sciences at Imperial College London, who led the study. “With any luck, in the future we can apply the methods developed from the wolves down to small mites or to large herbivores.”

The study used data that is already routinely collected on radio-collared wolves to get a glimpse of some basic responses to a changing environment – population numbers, genetics, body size, and the timing of key events in the wolf life cycle, such as when they first have pups.

It also took account of changing genetics in the wolves’ coats. Unlike in Europe, the grey wolves of Yellowstone actually have black or grey coats.

Research scientists from the US department of the interior, Utah State University and the University of California travelled over the park by helicopter, tracking wolf packs. They shot the wolves from the air with darts, before descending to weigh them and take blood samples. The scientists collected more than a decade’s worth of data from the 280 wolves living in the park.

The animals were re-introduced to Yellowstone in the mid-1990s after being driven to extinction more than 70 years earlier. White settlers to the Rocky Mountain West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries shot, poisoned and trapped wolves at will – an extermination effort encouraged by the federal government, which was interested in promoting livestock interests.

The last wolf was reported shot in the area around Yellowstone in the 1920s.

Since their re-introduction, however, the wolf population has exploded in the areas around the park. Wildlife officials estimate there are now about 1,700 wolves in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington – about five times more than envisaged under the original recovery plan.

Scientists have been working for several years on how to insulate animals from a changing climate. Some animals will be constantly on the move, up hill and to cooler locations at a rate of about a quarter of a mile a year according to one study, in search of suitable homes.

Other animals will run out of space, and die out. Still others may successfully adapt, growing bigger or smaller to suit their new conditions.

The Science study allows researchers to look at a number of key variables, including growth rate, fertility, and life span. “One of the ways people could take our framework is to ask whether animals that are able to adapt body size, or coat colour, are likely to change sufficiently fast so that the animals can cope with change,” Coulson said.

The latest study does not go into sufficient detail to predict how the gray wolves of Yellowstone will react to a smaller snow pack in the Rocky Mountains, or changes in the population of elks that are their prey, or diseases that may be brought by climate change, Coulson said. That will require further research.

But he said the new computer model developed in the study allows researchers to study for the first time how animals react to climate change, both in terms of behaviour – such as the age they first reproduce – and genetics – such as whether it has black or grey coat.

And he said it would have applications far beyond wolf populations.

“In reality we can apply the methods we developed across a range of animals and behaviours,” he said.

Reposted from , US environment correspondent Guardian UK

Exxon causes oil spill in Yellowstone

3 Jul

Oil swirls in the Yellowstone river after an Exxon Mobil pipeline ruptured near Billings, Montana. Photograph: Larry Mayer/AP

Hundreds of barrels of crude oil spilled into Montana’s Yellowstone River after an ExxonMobil pipeline beneath the riverbed ruptured, sending a plume 25 miles downstream and forcing temporary evacuations, officials said.

The break near Billings in south-central Montana fouled the riverbank and forced municipalities and irrigation districts Saturday to close intakes.

The river has no dams on its way to its confluence with the Missouri River just across the Montana border in North Dakota. It was unclear how far the plume might travel.

ExxonMobil spokeswoman Pam Malek said the pipe leaked an estimated 750 to 1,000 barrels of oil for about a half-hour before it was shut down. Other Exxon officials had estimated up to 42,000 gallons of crude oil escaped.

Duane Winslow, Yellowstone County director of disaster and emergency services, said the plume was dissipating as it moved downstream. “We’re just kind of waiting for it to move on down while Exxon is trying to figure out how to corral this monster,” Winslow said.

Cleanup crews deployed booms and absorbent material as the plume moved downstream at an estimated 5 to 7 mph.