One can certainly get into the minutiae of the Endangered Species Act, but it seems to me that common sense tells one that Yellowstone bison deserve better protection than they are currently receiving. Let’s see, there are, for the sake of using round numbers, 3000 – 4000 bison in Yellowstone. That population is unique, separated from other cattle-free bison by miles of human-altered landscapes, is hunted by treaty and for political reasons and generally harassed like no other species in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
According to the IUCN Red List, there are around 6,600 African Wild Dogs left in the world. If they were subjected to persecution (i.e. shot on sight) “in order to protect game species” as they were in the past, people would heap scorn upon the authorities and decry the prehistoric thinking taking precedence over science. And, if nothing else, people would question the wisdom of killing animals from a population of 6,600. Yet in Yellowstone there is a smaller population of a more culturally significant species being “managed” like the most common heifer, all to appease a small and vociferous cadre of beef raisers. And to what end? To protect turf & profits under the specious guise of human safety.
I fear that future generations will look upon us as we look upon those in the 19th century who blasted the holy hell out of passenger pigeons, buffalo, whales, etc. “What were they thinking? Wasn’t it obvious what was happening? Didn’t they have any check on their appetites?”