Friday, May 25, 2012

Yellowstone Bison Captured!


Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field
and in the policy arena to protect America's last wild buffalo.
27 BISON, INCLUDING NEWBORNS, CAPTURED NEAR YELLOWSTONE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  May 24, 2012

Contacts: 
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 443 417-3106
Dan Brister, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-6506

WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA:  27 wild American buffalo (bison), members of America's only continuously wild population, were captured this morning near West Yellowstone.  The operation was led by the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) and took place at the MDOL's Duck Creek bison trap, located on private land adjacent to the western edge of Yellowstone National Park.  12 newborn calves, 12 mothers, and three two-year-olds were relocated in the operation.

Other state and federal agencies participating in todays capture operation include the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP), the National Park Service, the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Gallatin County Sheriffs Office.

The buffalo were sorted by age inside the trap--with newborns being separated from their mothers--loaded onto livestock trailers, transported into Yellowstone National Park, and released at Fountain Flats early this afternoon.  It is unknown whether any animals suffered injuries as a result of confinement and transportation. 

The agencies have been engaged in intensive hazing here for the past six weeks, incessantly chasing bison at the height of calving season.

"While we hail the decision not to slaughter these animals, we are deeply disappointed in Montanas stubborn refusal to let wild bison be wild bison," said Buffalo Field Campaign's Executive Director Dan Brister, "How long will we treat our last wild bison like livestock, separate newborn calves form their mothers, and allow the Department of Livestock to dictate their fate?"

Buffalo Field Campaign is a non-profit public interest organization founded in 1997 to stop the harassment and slaughter of Americas last wild bison populations that inhabit the Yellowstone region, protect the natural habitat of wild free-roaming bison and other native wildlife, and to work with people of all Nations to honor the sacredness of wild bison. 

More information can be found at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Judge Halts Bison Helicopter Hazing!!!

BFC Update: At 1:45 PM May 14, 2012,
U.S. District Court Judge Charles C. Lovell issued a Temporary Restraining Order upon the Interagency Bison Management Plan agencies "from conducting further bison helicopter hazing operations in the targeted Hebgen Basin area pending further order of this Court."

Attorney Rebecca K. Smith presented arguments in today's hearing on behalf of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies to prohibit the use of Dept. of Livestock helicopters in threatened grizzly bear habitat to forcefully remove bison that have migrated into Hebgen Basin for the calving season.

Judge Charles C. Lovell's order is in effect for 14 days and can be renewed for an additional 14 days upon showing cause.
Buffalo Field Campaign provided expert assistance, video and photo documentation of grizzly bear activity and disturbances by the livestock agency's helicopters, evidence which weighed heavily in today's hearing and in Judge Lovell's order.

Read Lovell's order here: PDF

"Lovell granted the temporary restraining order after a hearing in Helena in which attorneys for the wildlife advocacy group Alliance for the Wild Rockies argued state and federal officials had not properly studied how the use of helicopters affects grizzly bears."  So, hazing bison is o.k. but, hazing grizzlies is not? Yeah, that makes no sense.

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/judge-blocks-helicopter-hazing-of-yellowstone-park-bison/article_48a6739e-9e19-11e1-992f-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz1uu3qPtF8

Monday, May 7, 2012

Montana Bison Management Plan

Bison Management Plan Open House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—APRIL 25, 2012
Contact: Ron Aasheim, 406-444-4038, or visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov

FWP TO BEGIN BISON MANAGEMENT PLAN DISCUSSIONS IN MAY


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced today that it will host a series of public meetings this spring as a first step toward developing a long-term bison conservation and management plan for the state. The plan will be developed through a programmatic environmental impact statement, which will address issues associated with bison and options for their long-term management as a Montana wildlife species.
The programmatic EIS, which will take about three years to complete, will examine an array of issues and possible alternatives—including no action—and each alternative’s potential beneficial and adverse environmental, social, and economic impact.
FWP will begin a formal public “scoping” process as required under the Montana Environmental Policy Act. Public scoping is aimed at identifying issues, impacts, public concerns, and conservation challenges and opportunities. The comments will assist FWP in further identifying issues and developing possible alternatives.  
Some issues already identified include: (1) the risk of bison spreading disease to domestic livestock, (2) competition between bison and other wildlife, (3) competition between bison and livestock for rangeland, (4) damage to fencing, (5) public safety, and (6) the legal classification and status of bison in Montana.  
Eight scoping meetings are scheduled for May. The sessions will be held from 6-9 p.m., with the first hour dedicated to informal discussions and the remainder of the evening set for recording scoping comments. Here are the meeting dates and locations:
  • May 14        Missoula     Holiday Inn Downtown – 200 S. Pattee St.
  • May 15        Kalispell    Red Lion Hotel – 20 N. Main St.
  • May 16        Glasgow    Cottonwood Inn – 45 1st Ave NE  
  • May 17        Helena        Montana Wild Center – 2668 Broadwater Ave.
  • May 21        Billings    Holiday Inn Grand MT Convention Center – 5500
                    Midland Rd.
  • May 22        Miles City    BLM conference room, BLM center – 111
Garryowen Rd.
  • May 23         Great Falls     Townhouse Inn – 1411 10th Ave. S.
  • May 24         Bozeman    Holiday Inn on Baxter – 5 Baxter Lane

Last year, in anticipation of a programmatic EIS proposal, FWP prepared a summary of bison history and activities in the West that offers information related to the possible restoration of bison in Montana. The “Bison Background Document” presents information on the bison's genetic and disease history, management concerns and a brief synopsis of different bison management philosophies among an array of private groups and organizations. The document is available online at fwp.mt.gov. Under 'For Fish & Wildlife Information' choose "Bison Background." The document may also be obtained on CD or other formats by calling Margaret Morelli at 406-994-6780 or via email at MMorelli@mt.gov.  
     
-fwp-

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Relentless Hazing Of Bison Near Yellowstone

BFC Update From The Field


Two young bull buffalo relaxing together on Horse Butte, one of the only places where buffalo have found any peace in the Hebgen Basin. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.



This past week wild buffalo have been constantly harassed in the Hebgen Basin, just west of Yellowstone National Park. Agents from Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) chase buffalo from the backs of horses and ATVs. Hazing (forced removal) operations have been taking place nearly every day. The bulk of these traumatic operations have occurred along the South Fork of the Madison River, south of the Horse Butte Peninsula, while a few have occurred along highway 287, north of Horse Butte.



BFC's stellar kitchen coordinator, Brandy, documents a hazing operation along highway 287. Horse Butte is visible in the background. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.



BFC patrols have been in the field nearly 18 hours a day, documenting government actions against the buffalo, monitoring the highways to help with safe passage, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly here at our headquarters. While this time of year is exhausting for volunteers, it is the buffalo who truly suffer. We have yet to see any newborn calves, though we know they'll arrive any day. Expectant buffalo cows, eight and a half months pregnant, are constantly disrupted and forced to run mile after grueling mile. When the newborns arrive, they too will be forced from their native ground. 




A hazing operation pushes wild buffalo down Highway 287, past Grayling Creek. The majority of adult females are pregnant, yet no mercy is shown. While National Park Service and Gallatin County law enforcement flanked the haze to do traffic control and monitor BFC field patrols, BFC volunteers documented from every angle. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click photos for larger images.



 


 Last Thursday a mixed group of fifteen buffalo, including two giant bulls, were pushed off of their chosen ground along the northern shore of Hebgen Lake, down Highway 287. With no cattle in the area the buffalo were punished simply for crossing an imaginary line drawn by Montana's livestock industry. Not long after the agents abandoned the haze, the buffalo - who know better than anyone where they should be - were already making their way back to the habitat they'd been chased from. A few days later these buffalo paid a visit to BFC headquarters. Shortly after leaving, two DOL agents on ATVs came and hazed them again. BFC patrols witnessed DOL livestock inspectors throwing rocks at an injured cow buffalo, hurt in the hazing operation and slow to move.



Maria, an amazing and dedicated new BFC volunteer, documents a hazing operation - one of many - that took place in the Denny Creek/South Fork region. Buffalo have been repeatedly harassed in this area for nearly two weeks. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.



The bulk of the hazing operations began near the South Fork of the Madison River, on and around the private lands of hobby rancher Pat Povah, who occupies splendid and important wildlife habitat but has no tolerance for wild buffalo. Agents routinely chase buffalo out of this area and continue to push them for several miles on the Gallatin National Forest.



Buffalo in Houdini's Meadow at the end of a haze. This particular haze started more than eight miles west in the Denny Creek/South Fork area, and the buffalo were clearly exhausted. Once given the chance, most buffalo immediately began to graze, others bedded down, while a few just stood there too tired to move. Only Livestock Inspector Bridger is shown here, because his DOL partner, Mark Anderson, ended up riding his horse so hard he went lame and had to drop out. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.



Not all of the hazing operations went according to the DOL's plans. On Earth Day the buffalo got the better of the agents. DOL livestock inspector Bridger attempted to haze a group of more than thirty buffalo by himself, while many more buffalo were also in the area, and Bridger was running his horse back and forth, firing off cracker rounds, and not making much headway.




On this particular haze, Livestock Inspector Bridger attempts to haze wild buffalo by himself. He soon learned that he was no match for them. In the second photo, you can see his shotgun, which he uses to shoot "cracker rounds" to scare the buffalo. Bridger's poor horse was ridden incredibly hard this week, and like the buffalo, is not likely to get much rest in the near future. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click photos for larger images.


Even after calling in "reinforcements" which included another DOL agent on horseback and an FWP agent on an ATV, more buffalo migrated into this area. Groups of buffalo were scattered about, and the agents would try to group them together then leave to round up another group. While they were gone the buffalo would disperse and go back to their roaming and grazing. Mr. Povah's lands are choked by strands of barbed wire, which buffalo are pretty good at navigating when not being harassed. But during the stress and fear of hazing operations, as the buffalo try to escape the agents, they are many times run through barbed wire fences as we have documented numerous times. On this particular day, after a number of hours trying to control what should not be controlled, the livestock agents were forced to give it up and the buffalo were left to enjoy the rest of the day in peace.



These buffalo arrived at the Denny Creek/South Fork area while two DOL agents were having their work cut out for them, trying to chase around various groups of wild buffalo. These buffalo are running simply because they felt good! They were bucking and kicking and sparring and feeling the good warm Earth Day. They did not end up getting hazed this day, and in fact, the DOL had to call off hazing other wild buffalo because the buffalo were too much of a challenge for them. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.



Over the course of the week, nearly two hundred buffalo were chased by DOL and FWP agents on horseback, with one DOL livestock inspector, Bridger, firing numerous cracker rounds to frighten the buffalo into moving. This happened nearly every day this week. After each haze ended, the buffalo would return to the area because it is quite simply perfect wildlife habitat, but it is "owned" and controlled by the Povah family who have no interest in sharing the land with her rightful roamers.



This photo shows nearly 170 wild buffalo that were rudely forced off of their chosen habitat by four horsemen, three with the DOL and one with FWP. This is outstanding habitat for wild buffalo, yet one ranching family's intolerance causes all this trouble and waste of federal tax dollars. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.



The following day, more DOL and FWP agents - complete with National Park Service and US Forest Service law enforcement - arrived to again harass the buffalo who had also increased in numbers. The agents' tempers were up and they treated the buffalo badly. During the course of the haze, cowboys were yipping and yelling while they exploded numerous cracker rounds. A BFC field patrol positioned in the forest documented a cow buffalo with her eye bulging from the socket and blood streaming down the side of her face. Later during this same haze, another cow buffalo started to show her resistance, and bluff charged one of the DOL agents numerous times. BFC patrols reported that another DOL agent said he'd "like to make a crotch rocket out of her."



This photo shows the smoke from cracker rounds fired, which the DOL agents use to scare the buffalo into moving. BFC file photo by Cindy. Click photo for larger image.



On Tuesday the agents found that the buffalo had returned to their chosen ground and the haze resumed. On Wednesday morning, DOL and FWP agents returned to the same area, this time with a Gallatin County Sheriff. But the DOL's day was over: there were no buffalo present for them to harass.



DOL livestock inspector Bridger runs his horse back and forth behind the buffalo, trying to get them to move. The agent left this group to go harass more wild buffalo, and as soon as he left, the buffalo dispersed. This haze, which took place on Earth Day, was called off before it got very far. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.



On Wednesday's morning patrol we saw two Yellowstone Park Rangers pulling a horse trailer, so we followed them and spoke with them. They offered that they were doing a recon into the Park, along the northeast bluffs of the Madison to see what buffalo they could see, but also to take a "warm up" ride in preparation for the more intense hazing that is yet to come. We have heard that the agents intend to chase all the buffalo off of Horse Butte beginning May 9th, but after the conversation with the rangers today, it may come sooner and we are ready. Hazing wild buffalo makes about as much sense as damming the ocean or trying to control which clouds can float across "your" sky. We pray that one day the light of this wisdom will dawn in their minds, and until it does, we will be here with the buffalo, every step of the way.

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!!





* Thank You Tuscon, Arizona!


Mike Mease has returned to BFC headquarters after a week in Tuscon, Arizona, talking with buffalo advocates, sharing video footage from the field and stories from first-hand experiences with America's last wild buffalo. Mike - and all of us at BFC - extend our deepest thanks for the warm (he'd say HOT!) welcome he received and has absolutely raved about his experience there. He will be giving a shout out to everyone who made this trip possible in next week's update. Thank you, Tuscon, Arizona, for welcoming BFC into your community and your hearts!




* Only One Week Left! Nominate Buffalo Field Campaign for the 2012 Green Awards


Buffalo Field Campaign is in the running for Great Nonprofits' 2012 Green Awards to identify top-rated nonprofits focusing on environmental issues around the globe. We need you to speak up for us right now. Your story can help BFC gain valuable feedback and guide others who might provide support by donating or volunteering.

Please take three minutes to help nominate Buffalo Field Campaign by writing a review by April 30th!



* Outreach Volunteers Wanted for Summer Tabling!


Buffalo Field Campaign will begin starting our summer outreach inside Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park in June, and we are looking for passionate, articulate folks who can help run our information tables, talk to hundreds of park visitors and build a strong constituency for wild buffalo. BFC provides food, lodging, camping, gear, and transportation to and from our table in the Park. We ask for at least a three-week commitment in order to accommodate training and orientation. This is a great opportunity to get involved and advocate for America's last wild buffalo! Please contact Tony for more information.



* BFC Wish List: Assorted Optics


We could use some help to (literally) keep our sights on the buffalo. We find ourselves in need of new optics: Cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, and equipment to steady these optics. Below is a section of our wish list that focuses on optics including quantities that will help keep all BFC field volunteers well-equipped. Any contribution for these items is extremely helpful and important to the campaign, whether it is a ten dollar donation towards optics or the purchase of one or more of the items below. Thanks to each and every one of you for loving the buffalo and for keeping BFC going and our volunteers prepared in the field every day. If you can help with these assorted optics wishes please contact our gear coordinator.

Zoom lenses for SLR digital photo cameras (Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens; Rokinon 650-1300mm Super Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR still cameras; Opteka 650-1300mm High Definition Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR still cameras)

(6-10 pairs) compact high-resolution binoculars, water- and fog-proof, 7-10x 35-70mm magnification

(6-10 pairs) full-size high-resolution binoculars, water- and fog-proof, 7-10x 35-70mm magnification

(3-5) high-resolution spotting scopes, standard tripod- or window-mounted, with zoom, 16-60x 60(+)mm magnification

(3) compact tripods

(3) full-size fluid head video tripods

(3-5) Walking/Ski pole Monopods with standard camera mount (eg. Leki, Tracks brands)


Click HERE to view BFC's complete Wish List



* Endangered Buffalo Fact of the Week


This one is well worth repeating:

"Yellowstone bison are designated as wildlife in Montana.... Within Montana, bison are designated with an S2 ranking, defined as: 'At risk because of very limited and/or potentially declining population numbers, range and/or habitat, making it vulnerable to global extinction or extirpation in the state ... The Montana Comprehensive Fish and Wildlife Conservation Strategy (MCFWCS) identifies bison as a Tier One Species. In the MCFWCS, a Tier One Species is a species considered in greatest conservation need.' "

This language - which strongly begs the question as to how Montana can justify the continuation of such harmful management of wild bison - is from Montana's response to a comment asking the State to consider the status of wild bison in Montana in their Gardiner Basin Environmental Assessment. Montana's response is listed as #5 on page 6 of the IBMP Joint Decision Notice to expand tolerance zones for wild bison in the Gardiner Basin, North of Yellowstone National Park, which you can read here.

Have a fact you'd like to share with us?



* By the Numbers


AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,700 individual buffalo. Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

2011-2012 Total Buffalo Killed: 29

2011-2012 Government Capture:
2011-2012 Government Slaughter:
2011-2012 Held for Government Experiment:
2011-2012 Died In Government Trap:
2011-2012 Miscarriage in Government Trap:
2011-2012 State & Treaty Hunts: 28
2011-2012 Quarantine:
2011-2012 Shot by Agents:
2011-2012 Killed by Angry Residents:
2011-2012 Highway Mortality: 1

2010-2011 Total: 227
2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631

* Total Since 2000: 4,001*

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, highway mortality




* Last Words ~ Earth Day in Honor of PHILbarb



Every earth day, our dear friend and buffalo warrior barb abramo would send out an email to her personal contacts, in celebration of the life of the love of her life, Phil Morton, who passed away on Earth Day 2003. She would honor Phil and the buffalo, as Phil's passion for them was incredibly strong. And if you knew barb, you know she carried that flaming passion also. Now that barb has rejoined Phil, we wanted to share this Earth Day message in both their honor. Earth Day in Honor of PHILbarb


Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to bfc-media@wildrockies.org. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you have been sending! Keep them coming!
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

BFC Celebrates 15 Years with the Buffalo


* Update from the Field ~ BFC Celebrates 15 Years with the Buffalo
This week marks the 15th anniversary of my moving to a little trailer in Gardiner, Montana to start what is now known as Buffalo Field Campaign.  Lakota elder Rosalie Little Thunder and I put together this frontlines presence to protect the buffalo.

Mike Mease speaks for wild buffalo.  BFC file photo.  Click photo for larger image.

As I sit here today on Horse Butte watching hundreds of buffalo enjoy being buffalo with no harassment, torture, or slaughter, I reflect on how far we’ve come.  During the years leading up to the formation of Buffalo Field Campaign any buffalo that stepped foot outside of Yellowstone Park were killed by many different methods as soon as the government agents spotted them.  The agents gunned down whole herds and then sent in Native Americans to do all the work of gutting, butchering, and hauling the carcasses out of the woods while livestock agents sat back out of earshot making rude comments.  They shot and killed buffalo in front of children waiting for the school bus and on the way to and home from school.  Gut piles were left in visible places for the whole community to see and smell.  The buffalo that were captured and sent to slaughter had their heads, hides, and meat sold at auctions and the Department of Livestock (DOL) kept the money.  The DOL even kept the money when Yellowstone National Park killed buffalo with our tax dollars.  All of these atrocities committed against our country’s last descendants of the millions of buffalo that once roamed the continent were hidden from the public.
During the winter of 1996-‘97 an estimated 3,500 buffalo existed in Yellowstone and that same winter the Department of Livestock and National Park Service (NPS) shipped 1,084 buffalo to slaughter.  Another 400 to 800 died naturally from the harsh winter.  I had to do something. 
   BFC file photos.  Click for larger images. 

I had noticed that wherever I had my video camera the agents had avoided killing buffalo.  I would find the largest herd of buffalo out of the Park and in danger and stay with them.  The DOL would go shoot smaller herds.  This became a founding philosophy of the BFC.  We would document and hold the government accountable for every action that they took against the buffalo.  If we could be with the buffalo that are out of the park we could show the world and stop the senseless slaughter.  Years of documenting the slaughter gave us the ability to produce videos and newsletters for outreach on the issue.
  BFC co-founders Mike Mease and Rosalie Little Thunder and the buffalo bus that began to spread the word to save the last wild herds!  BFC file photo.  Click for larger image.

Our first move was to educate Yellowstone visitors.  Exercising our free speech rights in Yellowstone National Park, we have staffed tables at popular spots in the park for the past 15 summers.  During the first year I also traveled to Grand Teton National Park, attended music festivals, and drove to other events in a Volkswagen bus that several artists had magically transformed into a giant buffalo.   I drove that van more than 10,000 miles, sending donations home as I received them to pay the Campaign’s bills.
  The original BFC crew sitting on the porch of the new headquarters in West Yellowstone.  BFC file photo.  Click for larger image. 

That fall we had the opportunity to move into our current headquarters near West Yellowstone and we jumped on it.  The summer’s outreach resulted in a solid foundation of supporters and a solid corps of volunteers coming from all over the world to stand with and defend the buffalo.  These volunteers set up blockades, locked down to the capture facilities, and did anything they could think of to stop the killing.  The resulting arrests brought publicity and media attention that the government did not want.  During our first year in the field only 11 buffalo were killed in contrast to the nearly 1,100 killed the previous winter.  We were making a difference.
  Direct action!  "Brucellosis:  Kill the Myth, Not the Buffalo!" BFC file photo.  Click photo for larger image. 

The following year brought yet more volunteers and more buffalo migrated out of the park.  On Forest Service Road 610, during an extremely cold winter, a blockade was erected to stop the Horse Butte capture facility from being setup.  This structure turned in to a 17-pole art piece that held off all harassment of the buffalo for more than seven weeks.  Many people endured 40 degrees below zero nights, perched high on a platform dangling from the structure to help save the buffalo.  Nonviolent direct action was the foundation of this country and I have been honored to be with many individuals that have chosen this path in defense of the buffalo.  I have personally been arrested three times for the buffalo.  Two of these arrests were illegal attempts by the agents to prevent me from documenting and were thrown out of court.  These arrests inspired some volunteers to put themselves through law school.  These lawyers now defend the buffalo in our all-important legal wars.   Buffalo are still dying but now more people are aware.  The buffalo sent to slaughter now are given to reservations or food banks and the DOL no longer profits from their sale.  As the years go by the arrests keep coming and national pressure starts to grow.
  Mike Mease and Rob Burns of the Gallatin County Sherriff's Department.  BFC file photo.  Click for larger image.

A new “kinder, gentler” PR ploy has largely replaced the wanton shooting and capture: hazing the buffalo back into the Park.  This war zone approach spreads the harassment to all wildlife in the ecosystem.  Imagine you are standing along the banks of the meandering Madison river watching the snow melt as birds return from their winter homes, grizzly bears feed on winter kills, moose, elk and deer nibble on fresh grasses, and buffalo moms nurse their newborn calves.  Now imagine the chaos as the DOL’s helicopter descends upon this tranquil scene from over the horizon and flies 20 feet above the buffalo’s head.  ATVs and angry horseman arrive next, yelling, honking horns, and throwing rocks to chase the animals from the National Forest.  Pickup trucks, forest and park rangers, Gallatin county sheriffs, and highway patrol officers relocate anything in their path.  This is how this last intact ecosystem is abused with your tax dollars.
    The "kinder, gentler" approaches to wild buffalo abuse, paid for with your tax dollars.  BFC file photo.  Click for larger image.

The brucellosis argument loses weight as elk spread the disease to livestock in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho and all three states lose their coveted brucellosis-free status.  Yet no action is taken against the elk, just the killing of more buffalo.  Buffalo have never once transmitted the disease brought here and given to our wildlife by cows.  Despite the closing of the last cattle grazing allotment on Horse Butte and new landowners who want buffalo on their properties, the state still won’t “tolerate” buffalo and continues to kill them.  Baby steps are the common used term for progress on the buffalo issue.  While the buffalo are allowed a few more steps out of the park, they’re never given year-round access to habitat and are always subject to a “drop dead” line across which they cannot step.  Yellowstone buffalo are the only species that is expected to stay within the park.  What a buffalo goes through in a year has changed a little but still they must endure a lack of tolerance and even death.

From November through February for the past seven years the buffalo have been welcomed to Montana with a so-called hunt.  Many years every buffalo to cross the boundary is killed.  Native Americans have been force-fed the hunt as the only way they can have their treaties recognized by the state and federal governments.  At present four reservations have had their treaties recognized to hunt.  The buffalo management plan calls for a cap of 3,000 on the buffalo’s total population.  This will make sure none of the first nations will ever be allowed to subsist from the buffalo again.   BFC honors and respects the treaty rights of all first nations and is actively working to help remove this disgraceful plan and put people that have the buffalo interests at heart in charge.
  BFC file photo.  Click for larger image.

As long as volunteers continue to join us in the field and supporters continue to make our work possible with their contributions we will stand and fight for the buffalo.  More than 5,000 volunteers have come to stand with the buffalo from every state in the US and countries around the world.  The majority of BFC’s funding is contributed by people sending donations of $50 or less.  This message that the people want us to continue the fight keeps me strong every day.  But it is the buffalo that will make me never leave until this land is theirs again.  They have the lessons that humanity has forgotten or never learned.  Everyone counts in the buffalo world.  Everyone is just as important as everybody else.   Together we can do anything.  I will be here until this ends or I die.  Thank you all for allowing me to dedicate my life to this most important work.

With the Buffalo,
Mike Mease



* BFC Flashback

  One of BFC's first winters in the field with the buffalo.  BFC file photo.  Click photo for larger image.

Here is the very first Update from the Field, dated October 22, 1997.  Co-founded by Lakota elder Rosalie Little Thunder and videographer/activist Mike Mease, the front lines wild buffalo advocacy group began as Buffalo Nations.  Out of respect for the People who are Tatanka Oyate, the Buffalo Nation, we soon changed our name to Buffalo Field Campaign.
  This is the print newsletter Buffalo Field Campaign put out after the 1998-1999 season.  Click on the image to download and read the newsletter. 

Have a BFC Flahsback you'd like to share?  In honor of our fifteen years on the front lines with America's last wild buffalo, we'll be sharing BFC blasts from the past over the course of the year.  If you'd like to share some of your stories please send them!  Photos are also welcome!


* NEW TAKE ACTION!  Tell Governor Schweitzer to Call off the Dept. of Livestock!
Hundreds of wild buffalo are currently enjoying peaceful times on Horse Butte, important habitat where there are never any cattle.  Very soon, wild buffalo will begin to give birth.  Horse Butte and the surrounding riparian and forested landscape are favored by the central wild buffalo herds, who migrate west from Yellowstone into Montana every spring.  Most of these lands are cattle-free public lands and some are buffalo-friendly private lands, where buffalo should be allowed to roam year round.  Yet, by May 15th, the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) and other state and federal agencies will descend upon this wildlife-rich ecosystem to terrorize the animals and harm the habitat, using horsemen, helicopters, and a variety of law enforcement to forcibly move (haze) native wild buffalo - including newborn calves and pregnant cows - out of Montana.
 
Montana is the lead entity in decisions made about wild buffalo in the Hebgen Basin, with the MT Department of Livestock calling all the shots.  Please tell Montana Governor Schweitzer to call off the Department of Livestock, halt the hazing and let wild buffalo follow their own instincts to return to summer ranges.


* Nominate Buffalo Field Campaign for the 2012 Green Awards

Buffalo Field Campaign is in the running for Great Nonprofits' 2012 Green Awards to identify top-rated nonprofits focusing on environmental issues around the globe.  We need your help if we are to win.  Your story can help BFC gain valuable feedback and guide others who might provide support by donating or volunteering.

Please take three minutes to help nominate Buffalo Field Campaign by writing a review by April 30th!


* Missing Your Buffalo Family? Return to the Front Lines!

  Thank you for having spent so much time here before and we want you to come home again!  BFC file photo.  Click photo for larger image.

Hey Buffalo Family!!!

Spring is here and so are the buffalo.  We are so grateful to be in the field watching these amazing creatures soaking up the warm rays of spring sun, feeling the nutrition of the green spring grasses, romping and running with their herds.  Our collective energies seem to be relaxed and for the moment at ease.  Our volunteers, however, know what is coming down the line and we are honoring our calm and reflective time now as we prepare what will surely be disruptive and trying actions in the future.  We are blessed with a great new crew of volunteers, and we could use the help of experienced BFC volunteers to help us guide them through the coming heavy hazing season.  If you're missing the buffalo and your buffalo family, please come on home to us!  We need you!  Get in touch and come home to the buffalo.

Peet
Support Coordinator
Buffalo Field Campaign


* BFC Wish List:  Assorted Optics

We could use some help to (literally) keep our sights on the buffalo.  We find ourselves in need of new optics:  Cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, and equipment to steady these optics.  Below is a section of our wish list that focuses on optics including quantities that will help keep all BFC field volunteers well-equipped.  Any contribution for these items is extremely helpful and important to the campaign, whether it is a ten dollar donation towards optics or the entirety of the list.  Thanks to each and every one of you for loving the buffalo and for keeping BFC going and our volunteers prepared in the field every day.  If you can help with these assorted optics wishes please contact our gear coordinator.
  • (6-10 pairs) compact high-resolution binoculars, water- and fog-proof, 7-10x 35-70mm magnification
  • (6-10 pairs) full-size high-resolution binoculars, water- and fog-proof, 7-10x 35-70mm magnification
  • (3-5) high-resolution spotting scopes, standard tripod- or window-mounted, with zoom, 16-60x 60(+)mm magnification
  • (3) compact tripods
  • (3) full-size fluid head video tripods
  • (3-5) Walking/Ski pole Monopods with standard camera mount (eg. Leki, Tracks brands)

Click HERE to view BFC's complete Wish List


* Gorgeous Buffalo Artwork Available, Sales to Benefit BFC

  Click image to view and purchase.

BFC supporter Julia Lucey is an incredibly talented artist whose work is featured in BFC's Wild Bison 2012 calendar.  Julia says, "As many of you know, a great deal of my inspiration comes from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The last genetically pure Bison are found here, but are challenged daily to follow their natural migratory paths ... I have given 5% of all of my sales to [Buffalo Field Campaign's] cause since I began my art career. I recently designed some cards for them (which will be available for sale from BFC later this spring). The etchings I made while trying to find the right design for them are for sale now on etsy with 100% of the sales price going directly to them."

Thank you so much Julia!

View and purchase:  Julia Lucey Buffalo Art #1   **  Julia Lucey Buffalo Art #2


* Endangered Buffalo Fact of the Week

Smaller bison herds gradually lose their genetic diversity.  A herd of 2000-3000 bison will lose an estimated 5% of its alleles each 100 years.  A herd of less than 400 bison will suffer some degree of inbreeding.  South of Canada, there are but forty-four non-commercial bison herds on native range.  Thirty-three of these herds are fewer than 400 animals.  Forty-two herds have fewer than 2000.  Of the two herds with fewer than 2000 bison, one is inflicted with a substantial amount of cattle genes.  Only the Yellowstone herds exceed 2000 animals and apparently have no cattle-gene introgression.  (Jim Bailey, Belgrade, Montana)

Jim Bailey's papers, and other bison conservation papers, can be downloaded and viewed HERE

Have a fact you'd like to share with us


* By the Numbers

AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,700 individual buffalo.  Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

2011-2012 Total Buffalo Killed: 29

2011-2012 Government Capture:
2011-2012 Government Slaughter:
2011-2012 Held for Government Experiment:
2011-2012 Died In Government Trap:
2011-2012 Miscarriage in Government Trap:
2011-2012 State & Treaty Hunts: 28
2011-2012 Quarantine:
2011-2012 Shot by Agents:
2011-2012 Killed by Angry Residents:
2011-2012 Highway Mortality:  1

2010-2011 Total:  227
2009-2010 Total:  7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631

* Total Since 2000: 4,001*

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, highway mortality


* Last Words

"Those of us already here roam the fields with the buffalo daily and have a kinship with them. The magnificence and ruggedness of these beautiful animals has all of us in awe of their role in nature and humble us in our own role. There is nothing quite like the sight of buffalo playing while a bald eagle flies overhead, a coyote hunts for scurrying food, a wolf howls in the not-so-far distance, while we keep a watchful eye out for the D.O.L. All in a day's work at Buffalo Nations. So come out and be ready for action or help support us in anyway you can. "

~ From a December 29, 1998 Buffalo Nations alert, which can be read in full HERE


Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to us! Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you have been sending!  Keep them coming!

Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-0070
bfc-media@wildrockies.org
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

BFC is the only group working in the field every day
in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.


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