Target: Neil G. Kornze, Principal Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management
Goal: Urge Kornze to push for a comprehensive land management plan that ensures the health of wild bison herds
Few threatened species have been able to bounce back like the American bison. Wild bison were nearly driven to extinction by pioneers and profit hunters, who often kept just the beasts’ prized tongues. Once down to only 1,000 animals, North American herds now include roughly 450,000 buffalo. And yet despite this incredible success story, the species remains threatened: by development, inhibited roaming ability, oil and gas exploration, and interbreeding with domestic cattle.
Nearly all of the bison now living in the United States, Canada and Mexico are raised in captivity for their meat. The approximately 20,000 wild bison that remain don’t have access to wide open plains as their ancestors once did. Groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society are urging the government to improve coordination across federal lands in order to ensure a future for these iconic beasts. According to the organization, “recovery of the wild herds depends on the availability of larger expanses of connecting habitat” in areas now intersected by fences, freeways, and oil fields.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in a unique position to help protect those few wild buffalo that remain. By partnering with Native American groups, ranchers and farmers, conservation groups and other government agencies already working on the issue, BLM can help ensure a future for the American bison. Let Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze know how important the health of wild herds is, and urge him to implement an improved land management plan that can make the difference in this species’ survival.
Dear Neil G. Kornze, Principal Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management,
As you know, the Department of the Interior features a wild bison prominently on its seal. Bison are perhaps the most iconic of American wildlife, yet their future in the wild remains threatened. The species’ health is intricately tied to the health of their habitat, namely large swaths of interconnected prairie and grassland. Only some 10% of the buffalo living in North America today are truly wild, free-roaming animals, and improved land management is critical to their continued survival.
For example, the practice of fencing off ranch land makes it difficult for bison herds to move across their range. Fortunately, ranchers and conservationists are already partnering to save wild bison; the American Bison Society, part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others are eager to work with you and your agency to achieve best-practice solutions. Their research has highlighted how wild bison herds can help control invasive species while improving the health of wild bird populations and the grasslands themselves. Please, stand with these champions and implement land management practices that can help ensure a future for the iconic American bison.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: LadyMadrone via Wikimedia