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Weekly Update from the Field April 21, 2004
* Update from the Field
* Week of Action for the Buffalo May 1-8
* Support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
* The Buffalo Field Campaign Needs Your Support
* Thanks for the Support
* Write a Letter to the Editor
* Call for Summer Outreach Volunteers
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Buffalo Supporters,
This past week has been a wet one. Our volunteers have faced cold rain and snow in the field. At least that makes it easier to track buffalo. But after the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) hazed wild Yellowstone buffalo every day last week, there have been fewer buffalo around to track. It has been strange to walk the Madison bluffs, to see bald eagles, osprey, and sand hill cranes along the Madison, but few recent signs of buffalo roaming outside the Park. 
In the past few days, small herds of buffalo have returned to the national forests along the Madison River and on Horse Butte. Many of the pregnant cow buffalo look ready to calve, grazing intently as they migrate. But not content to let the last herd of wild bison in the country roam peacefully on public lands in Montana, the DOL has returned this week to harass buffalo for following their instincts.

Yesterday the DOL hazed small groups of wild buffalo totaling around 34 from Horse Butte, along the Madison River, and near Fir Ridge back into the Park. As they hazed buffalo into the Park along the Madison, they picked up a larger group of about 60 buffalo grazing inside Yellowstone National Park and hazed them all even further into the Park. With all this hazing, it's no wonder there are fewer buffalo migrating outside the Park.

Today the DOL returned to look for any fugitive pregnant buffalo to haze. They found none to harass. There are no cattle on these public lands, there haven't been for years. Even the few private ranches don't graze cattle here this time of year. Yet the DOL continues to waste our tax dollars to force wild buffalo to stay behind an arbitrary boundary, to ignore their calving instincts, to harass and distress them during their spring migrations.

What this continued hazing means for the buffalo is still unclear. We are thankful that the Horse Butte trap has not been used to capture buffalo since Akiva's arrest. But there are still eight days left in April before the trap must be removed, and the buffalo will continue to migrate out to Horse Butte. Even if no buffalo are captured on the Butte, they are still likely to be hazed up to 7 miles every week for more than a month. All of this hazing during the buffalo's calving season causes undue stress during a critical time for the buffalo. Last spring we documented a stillborn calf after the DOL hazed a pregnant cow buffalo while it was giving birth. That's what happens when DOL agents with no wildlife management experience are allowed to manage wild buffalo.

As spring blooms in Yellowstone, our volunteer numbers have dwindled. We need new volunteers now more than ever. Springtime is a beautiful time to be in Yellowstone--days are longer, the weather is warming, volunteers have spotted bald eagles, blue herons, hawks, sand hill cranes, wolves, moose, elk, grizzly bear tracks, and of course lots of buffalo. Please consider joining us as a volunteer in the field with the buffalo this May.

Today is Earth Day. Take a moment now and do something for the Earth's creatures, the mighty bison. In this update you will find action items to support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act, information on our Week of Action, and ways to support BFC work in the field. As always, we appreciate your continued support. Together we will stop the senseless slaughter of the last wild bison in America.  

For the buffalo,
Ted Fellman
BFC Media
* Week of Action for the Buffalo May 1-8
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:
Hold a letter-writing party and have your friends write letters to the editor, and letters to decision-makers;
Organize a video showing in your neighborhood, school or office;
Find 3 stores in your town that will host a "Bucks for Buffalo" donation jar;
Visit the district office of your U.S. House Representative and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 3446, the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act;
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!;
Contact your local ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN news outlets and urge them to run BFC's buffalo footage;
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.
Stop the slaughter of the last wild buffalo in America.
Call your Congressional Representative today!
* Support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
The National Park Service and Montana Department of Livestock have already killed 277 wild Yellowstone buffalo this season. The Park Service has killed nearly 500 wild buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park in the past two years. In the past ten years the Montana Department of Livestock and National Park Service have slaughtered 2,778 buffalo in and around Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone buffalo slaughter is slated to cost taxpayers nearly $3 million a year until 2015.

BFC coordinators are heading to Washington DC in early May for more outreach and education in our nation's capital. We will be briefing key supporters of the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act (HR 3446) on the current situation facing the Yellowstone bison herd. We will also be meeting with representatives from John Kerry's office to encourage him to support a Senate version of the bill and make the slaughter of the last wild bison in America a campaign issue this year.

Call John Kerry's campaign office and ask them to support the Yellowstone buffalo. Ask him to make ending the slaughter of the last herd of wild bison in America part of his presidential platform. Let him know that Americans want national leadership that respects and preserves native wildlife.

You can contact Kerry's campaign office at: 202-712-3000. There are some local offices listed and a link to send an email to the Kerry campaign at: http://www.johnkerry.com/contact/.
If you are a Massachusetts resident, contact Kerry's Senate office and ask them to support a Senate version of HR 3446. You can find contact information at: http://kerry.senate.gov/text/contact/office.html.

Please take action today to stop the senseless slaughter of an American icon. Support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act. The bill calls for a three year moratorium on the hazing, capturing and killing of Yellowstone buffalo; expands the range that buffalo are allowed to roam; requires the dismantling of the Stephens Creek Trap inside Yellowstone National Park; and gives the Park Service sole jurisdiction over buffalo within the Park.
Thanks to your efforts, we continue to gain cosponsors for HR 3446. We currently have 92 House Representatives signed on to this critical legislation.

Please call your representative and urge them to support the bill. Check http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico/3446.html for talking points and to see if your Representative has signed on. If they haven't, give them a call and strongly urge them to do so. If they have, please thank them and encourage them to speak with their colleagues. 
You can contact your Representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 800-839-5276, and asking to be transferred to his/her office. 

Or, you can use http://www.house.gov/writerep to look up your Representative and send them an email. It only takes a few minutes to help the buffalo.

Thank you once again for your support. Together we will stop the senseless slaughter of the last wild buffalo in America.
* The Buffalo Field Campaign Needs Your Support
On Earth Day we take time to act for the planet. There are many things we can do for the day, but meaningful change demands constant work. BFC is the only group in the field 365 days a year with the last, free roaming, wild buffalo. 

What are wild buffalo worth to you? What does it mean to you to know that your grandchildren will be able to experience wild places with wild buffalo roaming free?

Of course these things are priceless. We cannot put a price on maintaining viable rangeland for the last wild buffalo in America. But we can put a price on BFC's efforts to stop the slaughter of the Yellowstone buffalo. It takes just 38 cents a day to feed a volunteer. That means that if we have 30 volunteers, it costs just $11.40 a day to feed camp, or under $80 a week. It costs about $3.50 for a mini-DV tape for our video cameras. On a hazing day we usually have at least 5 patrols in the field documenting the harassment of the last wild buffalo, using about $17.50 worth of tape. Every VHS tape that we send to a supporter to show what is happening to Yellowstone's last wild bison costs us about $1 for the tape. Recently we had to replace the transmission on our donated Suburban that we use for shift changes. Our volunteers spent many long hours under the truck doing the repairs, but the parts still cost us $1000. 

We could go on. But the point is that it costs money to maintain our field presence on behalf of the buffalo. We are extremely frugal here in West Yellowstone. We don't have fancy offices or high paid staff. But we do have dedicated volunteers working long days to stop the slaughter of the last wild buffalo in America. Can we count on you to help by making a donation? Donations are tax deductible and go directly to front lines work.

You can make a secure donation online at our website (www.wildrockies.org/buffalo) or directly at: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807

Or you can send a check to us at: 
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
On a budget -- $1-$12 to keep the videos flowing.
Count on me -- $11.40-$17.50 for a day of food or footage.
Big thanks -- $80-$320 to feed BFC volunteers for a week/month.
Or -- $1000 for the transmission in the 'burb for that special high donor. We owe you dinner and a grand tour of the area.
Thank you once again for your support. Every little bit helps.
* Thanks for the Support
Thank you to Fran and Steve for their recent contributions. Your kids are a big help around here too. 

Warm thanks to Justine, Roman and Japhy in Colorado for raising more than $400 at a recent Vox Feminista show in Boulder. We can't wait to see you again next month.
* 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 bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org.
Read today's letter to the editor by Nancie Pike from Northridge, CA at: http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/lte/042204.html.
* Call for Summer Outreach Volunteers
As our spring season passes the midway point, we are starting to look ahead to another summer here in West Yellowstone. As many of you know, the massive springtime migrations end around late May or early June, and our daily patrols are no longer necessary. This is the time of the year when we focus on outreach, talking with tourists in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks about the slaughter of the bison. We are currently looking for six to eight volunteers interested is spending a summer at the Campaign. You can expect to spend three to five days a week tabling, helping with projects around the cabin on slower weeks, and hiking, fishing, or whatever else suits your fancy. In return, all volunteers receive free room and board, as well as a little pocket money. A commitment from June 1 until Labor Day is preferred (with the option to come earlier and stay later), but if you can only stay for part of the summer, please apply anyway. All interested people should send a resume and cover letter, or contact Chris (our summer office/volunteer coordinator) directly.
Hope to see you this summer!
With the buffalo,
* Last Words
Let 'em Roam
Yellowstone's buffalo
Are dying slowly
In the snow
Dying for
The sacred cow
Stop the Slaughter
Stop it NOW!
Won't you help us
Spread the word
'cause these are
The last wild herd
Gentle giants
Built to migrate
Subject to
The DOL's hate
Department of Bovines
Runnin' the show
Want to kill all
The buffalo
Built a giant bison trap
To wipe the bison
From the map
They love those cows
Love 'em so
But lord they hate
The buffalo
Cowboys struggling
For control
Want to own
The bison's soul
To ugly myths
These old men cling
Want to manage
Every wild thing
The bison are
Not theirs to kill
They belong
Upon that hill
They belong
Upon Horse Butte
Let's give the DOL
The boot
Look on your sleeve
Mr. Park Ranger
That's a bison there
Now facing danger
From you who are supposed
To serve and protect
How many bison lives
Have you wrecked?
Children of
The endless plains
Grazing on
The waving grains
Life itself
to the Indian
Return them to
The plains again
Bison was here
Long before
Montana started
This bloody war
They should be here
Forever more
Yellowstone's buffalo
Are dying slowly
In the snow
Dying for
The sacred cow
Stop the Slaughter
Stop it NOW!
Stop it NOW!
Stop it NOW!
By Phil Knight
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
(406) 646-0070

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