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Government Urged to Round Up Bundy’s Cattle

May 9, 2016
Greg Dyson (503) 730-9242 gdyson@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Climate + Energy  
Monday, May 9, 2016
Government Urged to Round Up Bundy’s Cattle

Ongoing harm to Mojave desert tortoise is unacceptable
Contact: Greg Dyson (503) 730-9242 gdyson@wildearthguardians.org

Additional Contacts:

Travis Bruner, Western Watersheds Project (208)788-2290

Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity (702)249-5821

Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for EnvironmentalResponsibility (240)247-0296

Hailey, IDAHO –Acoalition of conservation organizations today pressed the Bureau of LandManagement (BLM) to stop Cliven Bundy’s cattle from continuing to trampleMojave desert tortoise habitat in southeastern Nevada in accordance with theagency’s commitments under the Endangered Species Act and as authorized by a courtorder explicitly ordering the U.S. government to seize and impound thesetrespassing cattle. A letter to BLM from nine organizations demanded thatBundy’s cattle be removed by the end of this summer.

“We recognize that the cattle round-up of 2014 failed due toreal threats to agency personnel,” said Travis Bruner, executive director ofWestern Watersheds Project. “Those ‘threats’ are now mostly imprisoned andawaiting trial, but the crimes against desert tortoise continue. The BLM cannotwait any longer to comply with the law.”

Livestock trample, crush, compete for food with, and degradethe quality of desert tortoise habitat. Bundy was told in 1993 to reduce hisherd to reduce the risk posed to the species. Bundy refused to do so. He thenstopped paying his grazing fees, and his supporters ultimately succeeded instopping the round-up of his illegal cattle in 2014. The herd remains scatteredacross and enormous area and the BLM has publicly stated that it has noimmediate plans to resolve the trespassing issue.

“These cattle arecompeting with native wildlife in the area for food”, said Rob Mrowka a seniorscientist working for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Whatever vegetationthe cattle eat is vegetation that is not available for desert tortoise andother native wildlife for nourishment or for cover from predators. I am veryfamiliar with wildland grazing, and ranchers are generally required to rotatetheir grazing herd to give the land a rest and to allow the grasses to regrow; neitheris happening on Gold Butte.”

The impacts of the cattle grazing extend to illegally constructed water tanksand pipelines to serve livestock water sources. Bundy’s cattle are allegedlystarving on the range, which means there is even less forage for the nativewildlife. The current situation is cruel to all of the animals that make thearea their home.

“While these cattle do not share Bundy’scriminal culpability for their actions, they are still degrading fragilehabitat every day they remain on the Nevada range. It is time for them to berounded up and sent to greener pastures.” Kirsten Stade, Advocacy Director withPublic Employees for Responsibility.

“This has been an effort by a radical fringegroup to seize public lands for their own personal use, and it’s well past timethat it comes to an end” said Greg Dyson, Wild Places Program Director at WildEarthGuardians. “Public lands are an American birthright, they belong to us all. TheBLM has received a lot of pressure to allow these cattle to continue to tramplethe land, and now the public is fed up. We are turning the tables and takingthe land back for the public and for the wildlife, and to put an end to thisblatantly illegal activity.”

The nine organizations include Center forBiological Diversity, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Los Padres Forest Watch,Pacific Biodiversity Institute, Public Employees for EnvironmentalResponsibility (PEER), Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Western Lands Project,Western Watersheds Project, and WildEarth Guardians.


Other Contact
Travis Bruner, Western Watersheds Project (208)788-2290