In January and February of this year, a militia linked to infamous Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge In Oregon for 41 days, saying they were protesting on the behalf of two ranchers sentenced to prison for arson.
The FBI investigated the scene following the occupation’s conclusion, before handing it back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the end of February.
The photos below show what awaited the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when they returned to Malheur (Images courtesy of USFWS – Pacific Region (Flickr):
The images show all sorts of debris strewn across the refuge building and a lot of damage. They include things like liquor bottles stuffed into a sofa and dents in the walls. Gavin Seim, who live streamed his conversations with militants during the end of the occupation, was told that all damage was the government’s fault.
Gavin Seim: “Just to be clear, since we’ve got you on here, ’cause you know, we know that they’re going to try to spin this their way — That refuge is in better shape and cleaner and better maintained than before the patriots showed up there, isn’t it?”
Sandy Anderson: “It was left in major disarray when everybody panicked and left.”
Seim: “Right, but overall, there was a lot of work and care given to the place.”
Sandy Anderson: “Exactly. But — but — but that’s changed now, because no one was here to maintain it and no one got the chance to clean up when they left. They just, they grabbed what they needed and got out and left everything sitting the way it was, and we had to move our camp up here, because we did not want to be in the building.”
Seim: “So it’s important then to note that any mess that the government comes in and portrays is because of their terrorizing of the people and scaring them out of there and trying to intimidate them.”
The Paiute tribe has condemned the occupiers for desecrating sacred lands. You can see the full extent of the damage they did to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge here.