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Weekly Update from the Field April 14, 2004
* Update from the Field
* The Buffalo Field Campaign Needs Your Support
* Write a Letter to the Editor
* Week of Action for the Buffalo May 1-8
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Buffalo Supporters,
Horse Butte has been a flurry of springtime activity lately. Heading out to the Butte early in the week, I was inspired to see Akiva sitting on a platform suspended from a 45 foot pole inside the buffalo trap. Having witnessed many buffalo captured there, it was a relief to know that the trap was shut down, even if only temporarily. I sat in the sagebrush with other supporters, including his proud mother, and shouted encouragement. Akiva was positive, confident, pensive. The monopod rose straight out of the trap, above the metal scar on the land, pointing to the sky, to a higher course of action. Akiva inspired me with his act of resistance, reminding me of the example of the buffalo that roam wild and free, that refuse to be tamed.
On Tuesday I returned to Horse Butte hoping to spend time with the large herds of buffalo that have migrated there. Unfortunately that afternoon was spent watching a buildup of over a dozen representatives from the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL), the US Forest Service (USFS), Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), and local law enforcement arrive at Horse Butte to remove Akiva. They brought in a cherry picker and pulled him from his platform and hauled him away grinning. A small herd of buffalo watched as they grazed above on the slopes of Horse Butte.

Volunteers on Horse Butte also reported seeing the first newborn calf of the year. This joyful moment is tinged with anxiety, another reminder of the difficult weeks ahead for the Yellowstone bison.
Sure enough, the next day the government agents returned to harass the wild buffalo grazing peacefully on Horse Butte. Yesterday the DOL, USFS, FWP, National Park Service (NPS), and local law enforcement scoured the hills of Horse Butte hazing native wildlife from our public lands. There were at least five separate hazes pushing over 130 buffalo back into Yellowstone National Park. Another group of about 55 was lost in the woods of Horse Butte. This is the pattern of springtime for the last wild bison in America--every week wild bison are forced to march miles back into the Park, causing undue stress during their critical calving season.
Today is no different. About 25 buffalo have been hazed already today. During one haze, a Park Service ranger pursued buffalo into a bald eagle closure area. This is an area closed to all human activity to protect bald eagle nesting sites. It is clearly marked, yet the ranger entered the closure during a haze. Volunteers caught the incident on video and we will be making a formal complaint. Once again, the people entrusted with protecting our native wildlife have proven themselves incapable of fulfilling their duties while in the service of livestock interests.
Akiva is back. He was released on his own recognizance on his 25th birthday yesterday. He faces four misdemeanor counts including interfering with a government operation, maintaining an illegal structure, camping in a day use area, and littering. He is doing well and enjoying hikes on beautiful spring days. We will keep you updated when his trial comes.

In this update you will find more information on supporting BFC, suggestions for writing letters to the editor, and information about our Week of Action for the Buffalo, May 1-8. Thank you again for your ongoing support. Our volunteer numbers have begun to dwindle in recent days, just as buffalo activity increases. If you or someone you know is interested in coming out to Yellowstone to stand in the field with the last wild buffalo in America, now is the time. Together we will stop this senseless slaughter and see the peaceful spring days when wild buffalo can roam free on our public lands.
For the buffalo,
Ted Fellman
BFC Media
* The Buffalo Field Campaign Needs Your Support
At the Buffalo Field Campaign we have no high paid staff or frivolous expenses--just dedicated folks working hard to stop the slaughter. With buffalo leaving the park everyday, your support is more critical than ever. Below you will find creative ways to help us help the buffalo.
We all give presents occasionally, so the next time you need a gift -- consider voting with your dollars. You can support BFC's crucial work through the purchase of creative art, pottery, jewelry, photos, music, 100% organic cotton t-shirts, 100% recycled note cards, and more. Just click on http://www.wildrockies.org/Buffalo/pcshop/bazaar.html. If you have items you want to offer through our supporter-to-supporter program -- please contact me at the information below.
Our graciously donated GMC Suburban is one of our main patrol cars and currently needs a new transmission. If everyone who reads this makes a small contribution or buys a gift we can get it fixed.
Our computer cartridge recycling program has just gotten much easier!
All you have to do is go to http://www.cartridgefundraising.com/National/bfc/
to collect cartridges in support of our work. Envelopes and boxes are easy to get and offer prepaid shipping. The landfills receive less plastic and BFC generates income in the process--a win-win situation. A poster will be available soon on our website for folks to download to share with businesses in their community about the program.
A big thanks to all of you for your work and efforts. It is my honor to work with such dedicated grassroots folks.
Together we are making a difference.
For the Buffalo,
Buffalo Field Campaign Programs
POB 957
West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
Donations are tax deductible and go directly to front lines work. BFC is the only group in the field 365 days a year with the last, free roaming buffalo.
* Write a Letter to the Editor
Many papers have been printing buffalo-related letters to the editor, and we can't thank you enough for your energy and effort on this. Letters to the editor are an easy and effective way to awaken thousands of people to the buffalo crisis going on in and around Yellowstone. Future updates will feature recently-published letters and a link to BFC's letter writing page, with letter writing tips and contact info for crucial papers: http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico04/030304writelte.html.
If you need information or tips on writing a letter you can always reach us at

Letter of the Week:
So how do I tell you why I'm up here? How can I say in words all that I've felt and seen? I guess I'll try because your article ("Bison Protest Continues, 4/9/04) said nothing of this story. I'm 40 feet high inside the Horse Butte Buffalo trap. 30 buffalo just walked by. I don't recognize this herd. They are not of the hundreds I saw killed in Gardiner last month. They are not of the 18 that were captured here in February. And I don't know if they were caught in the last three hazes I witnessed out here.
Right now they are walking in front of Hebgen Lake. There are no cows for many miles. These buffalo are the most peaceful creatures I have ever known. Why people insist on their destruction is beyond my understanding. I don't see why they can't walk through the woods the same way that we let elk and moose (who also carry brucellosis).
I have watched hundreds of buffalo live quiet lives on the Madison River and Horse Butte. I've seen them sleep and play, butting heads. I've seen them run by me in full gallop and a few times they've stood very close to me, staring into my eyes. They are truly awesome, as is all of the wilderness.
It hurts so much to watch the Department of Livestock and National Park Service freely terrorize herds of buffalo. My conscience would not allow me to just sit back and watch more buffalo be killed this spring for no reason. So here I am 40 feet high on a pole, breaking our laws. Our laws that once allowed slavery and now allow species management will slowly change as peoples eyes and hearts open.
Free the wild is all I can really say.
Akiva Silver
PO Box 496
West Yellowstone, MT
* Week of Action for the Buffalo May 1-8
If each of us who reads these words pledges to take action for the buffalo, imagine the difference we would make. During the week of May 1-8, we will concentrate our efforts in Montana and across the nation. We will turn our voices up to be heard, stand tall and be seen. How effective we are will depend on you - mass action requires a mass. If you don't take action, who will?
1. May 1-7: This is an urgent call for volunteers to come stand with the buffalo. BFC's campaign headquarters, located in beautiful West Yellowstone, is awaiting your arrival. We will feed you, shelter you, set you up with gear, and take you out on patrols so you can spend time with the buffalo! During the week we will hold a few workshops, give presentations, and visit the offices of public agencies to protest the slaughter. This will be an experience you'll never forget. Our goal is to give you the first-hand experience -- with the buffalo and the agents who harass them -- guaranteed to inspire and empower you to advocate on behalf of the last wild herd. Even if you've been here before, we need your presence now more than ever.

2. BFC has a big event planned for Saturday, May 8th at 2:00 PM in Helena, MT. We really need you there! We will gather on the Eastern Lawn of the State Capitol, with the headquarters of the DOL and FWP right across the street. Together we will stand in silent mourning for the 277 buffalo killed this year, and protest the continued harassment and slaughter. The lawn will be adorned with headstones for each buffalo killed this year. Things are coming along for the event, but we could use some help with outreach -- can we count on you? There is a flyer on our website that you can print and download, then post all over town, neighborhoods, schools, the office, libraries, community centers, etc.
Visit http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo and scroll down a bit to download the flyer ... and then help us Save the Herd! Spread the Word!

3. Can't Come to Montana? You Can Still Take Action! There are a bunch of things you can do in your own neighborhood. A few suggestions: 1) Hold a letter-writing party and have your friends write letters to the editor, and letters to decision-makers; 2) Organize a video showing in your neighborhood, school or office; 3) Find 3 stores in your town that will host a "Bucks for Buffalo" donation jar; 4) Visit the district office of your U.S. House Representative and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 3446, the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act; 5) Organize a Buffalo Action Committee in your community -- when calls for action arise, these are the folks you know you can count on to take action!; 6) Contact your local ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN news outlets and urge them to run BFC's buffalo footage; 7) Download our buffalo petition at http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/Buffalo ESA Petition 4-1-04.pdf and see how many signatures you can get in a week. The one who gets the most signatures gets a really cool prize. :)
Visit http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo for other ideas on how you can help stop the buffalo slaughter! If you've got suggestions, we are always listening! Send yours to stephany@wildrockies.org.
* Last Words
Free the wild
free the wild,
it's locked up right now,
let me tell you how,
it's called monoculture
and the dark
of Yellowstone Park
where animals are collared and tagged
and buffalo bodies are dragged
by the rangers who kill
worried that cattle might get ill
scared to feel
what might be real
we hand our children a pill,
emotions gotten at will
Free the wild
free the wild
Forget these borders
and consumer commercial orders,
let's walk in the woods again
to feel our everlasting harmonious friend,
I feel the wind
and see no end
on the water sits a pelican
clouds float in front of the sun
and everywhere great colors run
as the day is almost done
birthing unto the night,
the wild brings my soul to a great height,
higher than cable TV,
even a fool can see
that we are raping Mother Earth
forgetting her gift of life and birth,
forgetting how much this is worth,
beauty that can't be described
so we joke and laugh to hide
searching for peace in a phat ride,
luxurious cars
and Hollywood stars
never can compare to Venus and Mars
hanging in the evening sky,
life is breathing
and these bodies we'll be leaving
free the wild
Written by Akiva Silver from his monopod in the Horse Butte buffalo trap.

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