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Weekly Update from the Field May 8, 2003
* Update From the Field
* Demand that the Forest Service Stop Harassing Wild Bison!
* Buffalo Stampede Clouds Gather in DC
* Buffalo in the News
* Program Update
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Buffalo Supporters,
The other afternoon I had an inspiring patrol on Horse Butte. After all
the mixed rain and snow of the past weeks, the sunshine soaked into my
soul. We roamed among the sagebrush and grassy hills, in and out of
Aspen groves and Douglas Firs twisted by years of windy gusts, exploring
hidden meadows for our shaggy gentle giants. We found a few scattered
herds of buffalo grazing in the rolling hills. But we knew there were
more.

We found more. A whole lot more. A group of over 50 buffalo was bedded
down in the Aspens. We watched as they began to stir. Little orange
heads peeped over the sagebrush as calves followed their mothers. Young
bulls full of spring energy locked horns and butted heads before running
and turning to play some more. Soon all the buffalo were on the move,
running, playing, grazing, scratching against trees. Calves ran circles
around their mothers in quick bursts of boundless energy. All the
excitement was punctuated by buffalo snorts and our laughter. Nearly a
hundred buffalo were on the move as sunset bathed the mountains and lake
in color. The sight of so many buffalo wild and free stirred my spirit.

Unfortunately, this scene was short lived. On Tuesday the DOL
(Department of Livestock) helicopter made its first appearance of the
year, helping agents on horseback and ATV to haze eight buffalo,
including a calf, from forests and ranchland west of town. Yesterday,
more agents from even more agencies (the usual mix of DOL, FWP, NPS,
USFS, and local law enforcement) hazed around 150 wild buffalo,
including 15 calves from the national forests west of Yellowstone
National Park. Determined to not give the last wild buffalo in America
a week's rest, the government agents did their part to challenge the
free roaming character of this unique herd.

Today they are back at it again. This morning the DOL hazed a group of
six bull buffalo that had been grazing in the middle of Yellowstone
Village on Horse Butte. Reports from the field indicate that the
buffalo gave the government agents a bit of a chase, but eventually were
pushed into the Park.

As May 15 approaches, our hopes and fears mix in uncertain apprehension.
May 15 is the "zero tolerance" date, when buffalo roaming outside of
the Park are more likely to be killed than hazed. Our prayers remain
that buffalo can roam wild and free on our public lands.

For the buffalo,
Ted Fellman
BFC Media


* Demand that the Forest Service Stop Harassing Wild Bison!
Witnessing the repeated harassment of the last wild buffalo in America
on our national forests these past weeks has been a draining experience
for all of our volunteers. We are in the field with the buffalo from
sunrise to sunset (sometimes even all night). It is easy to get
frustrated, to feel powerless.

But collectively we do have power. These are our public lands and we
can make our voice heard. Take some time to contact Dale Bosworth, the
head of the US Forest Service. As you know, the Yellowstone bison herd
has been calving these past weeks on the Gallatin National Forest on
Horse Butte. Unfortunately the calving has been stressed repeatedly by
multiple hazing operations. Last week we witnessed a calving buffalo
give birth to a stillborn calf during a haze.

Last year many of you supported the buffalo by signing a petition asking
the Forest Service to cancel the grazing allotments on Horse Butte. As
we reported recently, those grazing allotments have been cancelled.
Which begs the question: Why is the Forest Service harassing native
wildlife on our national forest when there are no grazing allotments?

Let the Forest Service know that you want wildlife to be left alone on
our national forests. Tell them that since there are no cattle
allotments on Horse Butte, they should not be supporting the continued
harassment of wild buffalo, including pregnant buffalo and newborn
calves. Demand that wildlife be given priority on our national forests.
With all the attention in DC lately, our voice must remain loud enough
that they cannot ignore us! Don't let them hide behind one private
ranch on Horse Butte. The national forest belongs to all of us, and the
Forest Service needs to answer to the people, not one ranching family.

You can contact Bosworth at:
Dale Bosworth
Chief, US Forest Service
201 14th Street, SW, Suite 4NW
Washington, DC 20250
(202) 205 1661
dbosworth@fs.fed.us

Thank you for your continued support of the last wild bison herd in
America.

* Buffalo Stampede Clouds Gather in DC
Word from our folks in DC is that things are going better than expected.
The days have been packed with meetings with senators and congressional
representatives. So far the response in support of the Endangered
Species Listing has been encouraging. Last night BFC gave a talk to The
Humane Society in DC. Today we are busy again in the halls of Congress.

Thank you to all the staffers, senators and representatives who took
time out of their busy schedules to learn about the plight of the
Yellowstone buffalo.

Tomorrow is the Buffalo Rally, which culminates our 2nd Annual Buffalo
Stampede. People will gather at 11:30 on the west steps of the Capitol.
The Buffalo Rally will include special guest speakers Winona LaDuke and
Rosalie Little Thunder, both strong native voices for the buffalo.
Bring banners, puppets, masks and costumes and look out for our new 25
foot buffalo balloon!

* Buffalo in the News
A story on the plight of the Yellowstone buffalo made the front page of
the Los Angeles Times last Sunday. The story was written after a visit
where we showed the reporter around Horse Butte. We recently did an
interview with NPR that could be aired tomorrow (Friday 5/9) on All
Things Considered. Yesterday a story ran in the Tampa Bay Tribune that
included BFC and the Yellowstone buffalo (did you know that Florida has
buffalo?). We've also been getting a lot of buffalo coverage locally in
Montana papers, including quite a few opinion pieces. If you see
coverage of the Yellowstone bison slaughter in your local media, please
let us know, or better yet, send us a copy. Also if you know of media
outlets interested in covering the issue, send them our way!


BFC Media
bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org


* Program Update
Well, as you can see from the rest of the update, things are going full
force in our field work and DC outreach and Endangered Species listing
process. We are also working on our research, agency monitoring and
Horse Butte Wildlands Protection Project. Gotta love the energy of a
truly grassroots group!

On top of all this - we are getting together our newsletter for the
upcoming printing. We need to have it off the press by June 1st when we
begin our 7th summer of educational tabling in Yellowstone and Teton
National Parks. ~whew~ So if your address has changed or you have a
friend that would like to receive this info packed newsletter - give us
a holler and let us know. Also after double checking our checkbooks -
we need some help to pull all this off, pay the rent and get all the
newsletters printed and in the mail. Any contribution large or small
will be put to good use. You can give securely online at
www.wildrockies.org/buffalo or mail to: POB 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758

Thanks so much!
For all that's wild,
Su Gregerson,
BFC Program Development

"No fancy offices or high paid staff - just dedicated volunteers who are
passionate about protecting the wild buffalo for future generations."

BFC is the only group in the field 365 days a year with the last, free
roaming buffalo.

* Last Words
At last, Earth Maker piled up high mountains at the place where the sun
goes down, to hold back the waters from flooding the land and engulfing
Grandmother Turtle. He told Bull Buffalo, with his strong curved horns
and powerful shoulders, to push against the mountains. Bull Buffalo is
strong and he will live for a long time, but not forever! He grows
older, and every year he loses one hair, and in each of the Four Ages a
leg breaks. When Bull Buffalo dies, the mountains will break apart and
the waters will flood in once again and then Earth Maker will make
another world.

(The wise men have told us that Bull Buffalo is now weak and tired; he
has only one leg left and he is almost without hair.)

--from Remaking the Earth, A Creation Story from the Great Plains of
North America, as told by Paul Goble.

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