Cattle evacuated from U.S. coastal islands
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2004:
Huge cattle rescues are not unheard of in the U.S.–just rare.
A recent example was the November 2003 evacuation of 106 bison from
Santa Catalina Island, led by In Defense of Ani-mals southern
California director Bill Dyer.
Another evacuation, initially described by some sources as a
rescue, removed at least 38 cattle from Chirikof Island, Alaska.
Subsequent investigation revealed that even if live removal could be
made to work, the motivation behind the attempt was to sell the
cattle for slaughter.
In both instances the cattle were moved from both Santa
Catalina and Chirkoff in response to conservationist pressure to have
the feral herds shot, in order to restore wildlife habitat to a
semblance of pre-settlement conditions. The Catalina Island
Conservancy controls 88% of Santa Catalina, while Chirikoff Island
is under control of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The Catalina bison were descended from a herd of 14
introduced to the island in 1924 during the filming of the 1926 film
The Vanishing American. The herd was later supplemented and built up
as part of a commercial beef ranch operated by chewing gum magnate
William Wrigley Jr.
About 300 bison remained on the island when IDA and the
Catalina Island Conservancy began removing them in stages. They are
being resettled on the Cheyenne River Reservation and the Standing
Rock Reservation to become part of the Lakota Sioux herd, with the
help of International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and
Burros president Karen Sussman, a Chyenne River Reservation resident.
Dyer gained experience useful to the effort through previous
evacuations of feral goats.
Estimates of the Chirikoff cattle population range from 700
to more than 1,500. Ordered to remove the cattle by Alaska Maritime
National Refuge administration, rancher Tim Jacobsen tried to barge
some away, but ran afoul of bad weather and mechanical problems with
When the first batch of 38 cattle reached Kodiak island on
November 30, veterinarian Kenny Brown recommended that they be given
seven to 10 days of rest and recuperation ashore, before being
shipped farther. Twenty-three cattle were corralled, 13 were sold
or donated during a two-day stop for repairs in Old Harbor, and two
died aboard the barge.
The Fund for Animals offered the remaining cattle homes for
life at the Black Beauty Ranch sanctuary in Texas. The offer was