National Park Leader Fired by White House Because They Want More Bison Killed

Just how badly does the Trump administration want to kill bison in our national parks? So badly that it just fired the head of Yellowstone because he objected to killing bison.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk has given 43 dutiful years of his life to the National Park Service, but now he’s pushed out for what he can only assume are “punitive” reasons – the only conflict Wenk said he’s had with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is a disagreement over whether it’s necessary to cull bison in Yellowstone.

As it stands, there are a little over 4,000 bison residing in the parkland. Wenk said his staff and scientific research indicates that that’s a perfectly suitable number for the area, but Zinke wants to let hunters help dwindle the population anyway.

To get Wenk out of the way, the Trump administration first attempted to transfer him to a job in D.C. Wenk declined the job, opting instead to announce his retirement for March of next year. Apparently, Zinke and crew didn’t consider that a quick enough departure because they instead said Wenk will be replaced and out of job before August.

Wenk doesn’t have much recourse at this point since other senior executive officials are required to assume new positions offered to them or leave their existing job. According to the AP, an investigation into the frequent reassignments of Interior Department employees found that nearly half of all affected senior staffers believed their reassignment was intended as punishment for taking a different view than the Trump administration on something like conservation or climate change.

Speaking to NPR, Eric Austin, a political scientist with a specialty in public lands, noted that Zinke brings his Special Forces background to his current job. “There is a pretty strong, almost militaristic hierarchy that seems to be in place that’s kind of tinged by the expectation of loyalty associated with it,” said Austin.

Meanwhile, the Interior Department refused to comment specifically on Wenk’s employment, instead issuing a statement about how Zinke is following the president’s lead in attempting to “reorganize” the federal government.

The fight over how many bison are too many bison has been going on for many years now. Local ranchers have called on Yellowstone’s bison numbers to get the number down to about 3,000 to better protect their own livestock from diseases that bison could hypothetically (but haven’t in actuality) spread.

One of Wenk’s proposed compromises was to transport a bunch of bison to tribal reservations that are interested in taking them in. Zinke, however, was not supportive of that plan, preferring to kill the bison instead.

Take Action

Though it seems likely that Wenk’s replacement, Cameron Sholly, will fall more in line with Zinke’s feeling for bison, that doesn’t mean that the public outcry on behalf of bison should end. Let Yellowstone staff and the government know that you want to see the bison population kept alive by signing this petition.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

89 comments

Virgene L
Virgene L4 months ago

We must stop this sick administration--Sick, Spoiled, User brats.

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Debra Tate
Debra Tate4 months ago

Thanks.

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Debra Tate
Debra Tate4 months ago

Thank you.

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Leo Custer
Leo C4 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Mark Donner
Mark D4 months ago

Zinke is very dangerous. He's a psychotic criminal, but he hides in the background, as opposed to Pruitt and Trump who are dangerous psychotics themselves but who bring their crimes out in the open. Zinke is a covert and sly Trump terrorist, totally traitorous to Americans

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Claudia A
Claudia A4 months ago

:(

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R4 months ago

Good grief Ogre strikes again... No doubt signed & shared. Thank you.

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Sebastian J
Sebastian J4 months ago

Just what I'd expect from a hostile vengeful vindictive morally corrupt POTUS and henchpersons.

But we have elections coming up - could be our last chance.

Anyone still saying there's no such thing as "the lesser of two evils?" That Hillary was no better than Trump???

All others please come out and vote before it's too late!

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Michael F
Michael Friedmann4 months ago

Signed, Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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michela c
michela c4 months ago

Thanks. Signed.

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