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Total Yellowstone
Buffalo Killed
Since 1985
9,172
(past counts)

Yellowstone Bison Slaughter
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Weekly Update from the Field May 22, 2003
* Update from the Field
* Shifting into Summer Campaign
* Summer Buffalo Road Show
* Billings Gazette Poll Results
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Buffalo Supporters,
Thankfully, this week's Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) bison
mismanagement could have been worse. No buffalo were killed during
yesterday's operations, a tragic alternative which will become more and
more probable as the date marches further past the May 15 "zero
tolerance" deadline. By the end of the day, over 130 buffalo, many of
whom were newborn calves, had been hazed over ten miles by agents in a
helicopter, on ATV's and horseback. It was a hot, dusty and chaotic day
as we watched peaceful creatures harassed another time in what seems to
be an endless string of abuse.

Our patrol arrived on the South Arm of the Madison River at 5:30 AM,
ready to document the fate of the two groups bedded down in the serene
valley. Over 40 mature bison and 10 reddish-brown calves stirred and
began to graze and play in the clear Montana sunlight. After only a
brief glimpse of this natural scene, we began to receive reports of DOL
buildup in the area. Agents began to arrive with horses and ATV's, and
the grating thump-thump-thump of the helicopter floated to us on the
wind. Many bison began to stand and group together. It was beginning.

The details of yesterday's hazing operations are frustratingly similar
to those of countless other days of harassment. Buffalo were pushed
from the south side of the Madison River, from the Horse Butte
peninsula, and from private land back into the Park. The oppressive
grind of the helicopter filled our ears the entire day. DOL agents
detonated explosive cracker rounds next to frightened buffalo, sending
them running in all directions. Female bison who had given birth only
days before were running at top speed, their fresh young calves doing
their best to keep up, tongues hanging from their mouths, tiny hooves
clattering over gravel and asphalt.

At one point, a mother and calf were separated from their group and were
being hazed by an agent on horseback down the nine-mile Madison Arm
road. The pair left the road to rest in a meadow and were pursued by
the rider. The mother turned and faced the rider as her calf sought
shelter between her legs. Her tail raised, she began to vigorously
scrape the earth, pounding her hooves in defiance. The rider moved
forward to try to assert his authority. In an instant, all of her mass
and maternal instinct was committed to the charge as she sped toward the
rider, head bent, horns pointed. The horse reared and spun, the rider
stood up in his saddle. A few feet from impact, the mother stopped and
stared, then returned to her baby, having taught the rider the true
nature of power and of love.

Buffalo left the park within hours of the hazing. As I write this,
agents continue to haze yesterday's victims back into the Park. Another
week has brought us closer to the possibility that bison will be shot in
the field again this spring. We will hold their safety in our hearts
and keep you informed of the fate of America's last wild herd.

For the buffalo,
Jonas Ehudin & Ted Fellman
BFC Media


* Shifting into Summer Campaign
As the days grow longer and the air finally warms up, our Spring
Campaign draws to a close. We send our sincere thanks to all volunteers
who have joined us in the field this season.


On June 1, we begin our Summer Campaign, which focuses mainly on
outreach and education as we table in Yellowstone. A dedicated core of
campaigners will remain in the cabin this summer, and for the first time
since BFC began, we are asking that new volunteers please wait to visit
until Fall Campaign begins in October.


Our open volunteer season runs through fall, winter and spring
(approximately October through May) and these are the times when field
volunteers are badly needed.


Previous volunteers and supporters should contact our summer campaign
coordinator at (406) 646-0070 or buffaloatwildrockies.org if you would
like to visit this summer.



* Summer Buffalo Road Show

Mike Mease will bring the BFC road show to the west coast this summer.
Beginning in mid-August and continuing through mid-September, Mike and
others will present the current situation faced by the Yellowstone herd.
Our exclusive footage brings the reality of this conflict right to your
door.


We are currently lining up west coast venues for presentations. Please
contact us at (406) 646-0070 or mease"at"wildrockies.org if you can help
set up a location for this compelling video and discussion program.

In addition to Mike, our 25-foot buffalo balloon will be on tour. Help
the buffalo balloon roam near you. To see a picture of the inflatable
buffalo at the Washington, DC Buffalo Stampede, check out:
www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/press02/050903.html

* Billings Gazette Poll Results
Thanks to everyone who went to the Billings Gazette's website last week
to vote for ESA protection for the Yellowstone herd.

From the Billings Gazette:
Readers who responded to last week's billingsgazette.com online poll
said bison in Yellowstone National Park should be protected under the
Endangered Species Act.

In the unscientific online poll, 364 respondents (58 percent) said bison
deserve more protection. Another 261 voters (42 percent) disagreed,
saying that current bison management policies are appropriate

* Last Words
The truth will set you free. But before it does, it will make you angry.

- Jerry Joiner


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