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Yellowstone buffalo petition supported by a second court ruling

Buffalo in a field
The Buffalo Field Exchange
The Buffalo Field Exchange

This week a federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reevaluate a petition from two advocacy groups the Buffalo Field Campaign and the Western Watersheds Project. They have been petitioning the federal government since 2014 to recognize the subpopulation of Yellowstone buffalo under the Endangered Species Act.

Darrell Geist is the habitat coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign and said that this is the second time a court has said the federal government needs to reevaluate its petition.

“So, we've got two court rulings to judges agreeing with us that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unlawfully dismissed evidence in our petition that Yellowstone bison may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, and that our petition requires further review,” he said.

The petition alleges that if there are 2 genetically distinct groups of buffalo in Yellowstone the number of buffalo allowed in the park should be doubled from three to six thousand.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will respond to the court within 90 days.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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