Schweitzer blocks all federal wildlife shipments; calls Moiese bison 'mongrels'

2011-12-13T22:00:00Z 2012-05-12T20:49:59Z Schweitzer blocks all federal wildlife shipments; calls Moiese bison 'mongrels'The Associated Press The Associated Press
December 13, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

BILLINGS - Montana's governor on Tuesday issued an order blocking the Interior Department from transporting fish and wildlife anywhere within the state or across state lines - raising the stakes in his ongoing tussle with federal officials over their management of wildlife.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer said he was concerned the federal agency's actions have allowed animal diseases such as brucellosis and chronic wasting disease to spread across the region.

He also said he wants to halt the transfer of bison to other states from the National Bison Range. The Democratic governor said those bison are "genetically impure mongrels" that should not be used for conservation purposes.

Interior officials earlier this month turned down Schweitzer's proposal to relocate dozens of bison from Yellowstone National Park onto the bison range near Moiese. But the governor said the rejection of his proposal was just the latest in a string of confrontations with federal officials over wildlife in recent years.

Previously, Schweitzer has called on the federal government to stop the artificial feeding of elk on the National Elk Refuge in neighboring Wyoming - a practice biologists have said concentrates wildlife populations and increases the chances of disease transmission.

"It's their cavalier disregard for wildlife genetics and disease," Schweitzer said. "They don't seem to be interested in changing their behavior."

He said the order will remain in place until federal officials show cooperation with Montana over wildlife.

An Interior Department spokesman said he had not yet seen the order and couldn't immediately comment.

It was not immediately clear what effects the order could have.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - part of Interior - manages the bison at the Moiese range in concert with different bison populations at refuges in Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska. The agency occasionally moves animals from refuge to refuge, FWS spokeswoman Diane Katzenberger said.

"We will move bison between these isolated meta-populations to ensure genetic diversity," Katzenberger said. "But we have no plans to move any bison within the next year."

Besides the National Bison Range, FWS manages bison populations at Sullys Hill National Game Preserve in North Dakota, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado and Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska.

The federal agency does not move any other wildlife across state lines, Katzenberger said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Search our events calendar