Protesters

Two bison protesters were arrested Friday morning outside Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek Capture Facility.

Two bison slaughter protesters were arrested in Yellowstone National Park Friday morning after chaining themselves to cement-filled barrels in an effort to prevent trucks from taking bison to slaughterhouses.

The two have been identified as members of the group Wild Buffalo Defense. In a post on the group’s Facebook page, they’re identified as Wolf and Coyote.

No charging documents were available before deadline Friday.

A post on Wild Buffalo Defense’s Facebook page says the two people locked themselves to three 55-gallon barrels filled with concrete on the road leading out of the Stephens Creek Capture Facility before dawn Friday. The group estimated the barrels weighed 1,000 pounds apiece.

Photos on the page show the drums painted with messages about protecting bison and honoring treaties between the U.S. government and Native American tribes.

In a press release, the park said rangers found the protesters before 7 a.m.

Monty Slate, a spokesman for Wild Buffalo Defense, said the pair’s actions delayed a shipment of bison to slaughter for a few hours.

Park spokeswoman Vicki Regula said park officials used heavy equipment to create a path for trucks to get around the protesters. After the path was created, 28 bison were shipped to slaughter.

Bison are shipped to slaughter each year as part of a multi-agency management plan that calls for annual population reduction. The plan calls for a bison population around 3,000. Biologists estimated there were about 4,800 bison last fall.

Bison managers decided this winter to remove between 600 and 900 animals. State and tribal hunters have taken at least 294 bison, according to the most recent report from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

At least 350 have been shipped to slaughter this year. Meat from slaughtered bison is distributed to Native American tribes.

This is the group’s second run-in with park law enforcement this month. Three protesters were arrested at the facility on March 6, including two that had chained themselves to a squeeze chute. All three were banned from the park for five years and ordered to pay more than $1,000 apiece in fines.

Yellowstone is also investigating two incidents of fences being broken at the facility in an apparent attempt to set bison free.

Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

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