Excelsior College Yellowstone Bison and Brucellosis Stakeholder Interests Letter

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Summary of the situation: Bison’s primary range today is Yellowstone National Park (YNP). Bison’s range and population are heavily controlled because of concerns of brucellosis bacteria, competition for resources, and competition for space. These concerns are held by certain regulatory agencies, area residents, and cattle ranchers. Bison roam freely and do leave the park, sometimes in herds. When this happens, or when the park nears carrying capacity, management steps must be taken. Ideally, these measures will consider the needs of all major stakeholders. The Native American entities we are representing, along with some federal agencies and animal rights groups, would like to see bison range expanded and their population allowed to grow. Along with conservation interests, buffalo carry significant cultural and spiritual meaning to Native American groups in the western United States.

Potentially points of conflict: [1/2]
-Competition for land with humans living in the area.
-Competition with cattle and other animals
-Transmission of Brucellosis to livestock

There are three main Native American groups that are concerned with bison conservation: [1]
-Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
-InterTribal Buffalo Council
-Nez Perce Service

There are three current strategies for managing bison population: [1]
-Hunting bison outside the park
-Sending bison to slaughter (least preferred)
-Transferring bison to new ranges on tribal lands (most preferred)

: Stakeholder letter

I propose we each take one of the following three topic areas and address them in our letter. I can compile all our input into the final product.

Bottom Line Up Front: Our goal should be to promote the transferal of bison to new ranges on tribal lands outside of YNP.

Area 1: The cultural and spiritual significance of the buffalo, as well as its conservational importance.
While we share many concerns with other stakeholders, this one is unique to the groups we represent. We should address why this matters to us and why it should concern other stakeholders. This would also be a good place to address the damage done to bison populations, their current state, and the need for new conservation methods. (This area does not yet get into the transferal plan).

Area 2: Recognize and address conflicting interests of other stakeholders.
Other stakeholders do possess real concerns that should be given consideration. Number one among these is the concern of brucellosis transmission to livestock, the second being competition with humans for space. This section should state what actual threat bison pose, how it can be mitigated without culling bison, and why culling methods are not working.

Area 3: This is our proposal for transferal programs.
This area should address the current efforts of transferal programs, their challenges, successes, and why this method is preferable. In the previous sections, we address the importance of bison, the risks they pose, and the shortcomings of current conservation methods. This section is our chance to show that what we are proposing is better. To best propose this plan, it should address both our concerns and the concerns of other groups. . 

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