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
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!
* 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.
* 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
info at http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo).
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!
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.
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 email@example.com
We hope to see you there! Bring a friend or colleague!
For the Buffalo!
* 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Buffalo Field Campaign Needs your Financial
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
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
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
Thank you once again for your support. Every little
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758