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Weekly Update from the Field April 28, 2004
*Update from the Field
* Spring Brings New Calves, Relentless Hazing Acton Items:
* Special Event to Honor Buffalo in Helena, MT, May 8th
* BFC to Visit Washington, DC May 1 - 9, 2004
* Buffalo Supporters Organize Australian Event
* Buffalo Field Campaign Needs your Financial Support

Supporters,
With the lengthening days of spring, our volunteer patrols are in the field from 4AM to 9PM, and sometimes overnight. The Department of Livestock (DOL) has ordered its agents to haze buffalo on a daily basis, an order they have carried out with militaristic zeal. We have been busy in the field protecting the buffalo and documenting every action made against them. But our volunteer numbers are beginning to dwindle, and our financial resources are stretched. If you can help us--by joining us in the field or sending a donation--we can continue to bear witness in the field and keep our volunteers properly fed and equipped. The overwhelming majority of our funding comes from individual contributions and our ability to be here is dependant upon your support.

Pregnant buffalo have been giving birth by the day, and the newborn calves-like other members of the herd-find themselves continuously hounded by agents on ATV's, horseback, and trucks. Firing loud explosive charges ("cracker-rounds") from shotguns, the agents disrupt the entire ecosystem. We have documented negative effects on many species including elk, eagles, trumpeter swans, and sandhill cranes.

But buffalo are the target of such operations, and buffalo bear the heaviest burden. Local DOL agent Shane Grube is relentless in his determination to keep buffalo away from public lands in Montana. We routinely watch him chase buffalo through barbed-wire fences, ripping their hides in the process. On Tuesday of this week an agent took aim directly at a bull buffalo and pelted him on the side with a cracker-round, which bounced to the ground and then exploded. There is no reason for such cruelty.

This winter and spring are the worst in our seven-year history. DOL and National Park Agents have slaughtered 277 buffalo, and the killing season isn't over. Buffalo are being kept from Montana to supposedly protect cattle from brucellosis, but there are serious problems with this rationale. For one thing, there are no cattle within miles of the area, and there won't be for months. For another, in the century that buffalo have been known to carry brucellosis, they have never transmitted the bacteria to livestock. Elk, who also carry brucellosis, are free to exit Yellowstone at will and do so unmolested.
  
The real reason for the hazing and slaughter, of course, has nothing to do with brucellosis. This is a range war, a battle of control of our public lands. Montana's powerful livestock industry is unwilling to tolerate buffalo outside park boundaries because they are afraid of the example it will set. They are afraid people will flock to the area to see buffalo, that buffalo will boost the local economy, and that people will begin to wonder why wild buffalo are confined to one national park when they used to inhabit the entire continent. Livestock producers played a large part in the 19th century eradication of buffalo from much of their range, and their modern-day counterparts want to keep the West free of buffalo so they can continue to monopolize the grass on the public range with their subsidized livestock. Cattle is king in Montana, and the livestock industry rules with an iron fist.

Below you will find information on our International Week of Action for the Buffalo, with events planned in West Yellowstone and Helena, Montana; Washington, DC; and Perth, Australia. If you live in or near one of these areas, or would like to organize an event in your hometown, please contact us.

The Yellowstone buffalo are irreplaceable. We are working as hard as possible to insure their survival but we can not continue without your support. Please make a donation today or volunteer for patrol. The future of free-roaming buffalo depends on you!
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* Special Event to Honor Buffalo in Helena, MT, May 8th
Join BFC in Helena, MT, Saturday, May 8th, 2:00 pm. As part of our Week of Action, BFC and buffalo supporters will gather on the east lawn of the State House for a special buffalo event. We will pay our respects to the 277 buffalo needlessly killed by government agencies and protest their continued harassment and slaughter. We will adorn the capitol lawn with headstones, don black in mourning, and show that we will stand together in protest of the state's zero-tolerance policy until the buffalo are free to roam their ancestral lands unmolested.
To download WOA flyers to post in your community and for more information and ideas, visit our website: http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo.  
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* BFC to Visit Washington, DC May 1 - 9, 2004
Help stop the slaughter of the last wild buffalo!
Mike Mease, co-founder of the Buffalo Field Campaign and Field Coordinator and Su Gregerson, BFC's Program Development Coordinator, will be in the DC area as part of the National Week of Action for the Buffalo (May 1-8)
info at http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo).
WHAT:
You're invited to a special sack lunch presentation on Thursday, May 6th. We'll share exclusive footage from the field from this year as well as front-lines stories and info. The only way that the buffalo will be truly protected is if folks learn about the issue and get involved!
WHEN:
Please join us May 6th, from 12:15 - 1:15 at NRDC's offices at 1200 New York Avenue, Suite 400 (4th Floor.) This is in the downtown area west of Chinatown near Metro Center on the corner of 12th & H Street.
WHY:
Thirty million buffalo once graced North America. They migrated in response to the seasons, rain and availability of grass and were the largest concentration of mammals ever known to exist. By the early 20th century, all but a fraction of the teeming herds had been slaughtered. By 1902, the last 23 wild buffalo had taken refuge in the remote Yellowstone back-country. Their direct descendants, the only continuously wild population in America, are alive today in and around Yellowstone National Park.
But their survival is in jeopardy once again. In recent years the State of Montana and the federal government have resumed the buffalo slaughter, killing more than 3,700 native buffalo. Every winter, snow and ice obscure the buffalo's forage and hunger pushes them to lower elevations across the park boundary. When they cross this invisible line, the buffalo step into the cross-hairs of government rifles. America's last wild bison are chased (hazed) by snowmobiles,
helicopters, and ATVs; trapped and confined in pens; and shot dead on their native range. The Montana Department of Livestock, an agency representing the livestock industry, and the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, and other public agencies dictate the bison's fate. 277 wild buffalo have already been killed this season and they are being hazed as you read this.
Take this opportunity to use your lunchtime to find out what you can do to help assure that the last wild buffalo are protected for future generations.
For more information, contact Su at bfc-programs@wildrockies.org
We hope to see you there! Bring a friend or colleague!
For the Buffalo!
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* Buffalo Supporters Organize Australian Event
In conjunction with the Helena and DC events, a group of supporters in Perth, Australia is organizing an event on Sunday, May 9 at Minnawarra Park Gardens, Armdale. If you live in Australia and would like to attend, please contact Patricia at: valulinr@amitar.com.au.
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* Buffalo Field Campaign Needs your Financial Support
Thank you Gayle for responding so generously to last week's plea for support. Thanks to you the Suburban's new transmission is in and the vehicle is up and running transporting patrols to and from the field.
For those of you who have been considering a donation, please do so now.  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. 
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.
Thank you once again for your support. Every little bit helps.
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Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
www.wildrockies.org/buffalo
buffaloatwildrockies.org
(406) 646-0070


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