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Weekly Update from the Field December 12/18/03
* Update from the Field: Montana Department of Livestock resumes
harassment of our last wild buffalo
* Thank ya', Thank ya', Thank ya'
* Take Action! (& What Stinks in Yellowstone)
* Last Words

* Update from the Field:
Montana Department of Livestock resumes harassment of our last wild buffalo.
Since a bull buffalo was shot near the Yellowstone Park border on November 25, only a few buffalo have been outside of Yellowstone's borders for short time periods. But this week, one older bull found a sweet little spot outside the Park on Cougar Creek. He had been grazing peacefully there for the past three days until this morning when Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) agents on snowmobiles found him. Beginning around 11 AM, two MDOL agents on snowmobiles began chasing our buffalo friend east toward the Park boundary. "They chased him for nearly thirty minutes through knee-deep snow," said Amy, a BFC volunteer who was with the buffalo when the operation began. The buffalo eventually reached the relative safety of Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo bulls do not have the biological capacity to transmit brucellosis to cattle. Neither are there any cows within forty miles of the Cougar Creek area. This unnecessary stress caused by the Montana Department of Livestock under the guise of protecting the livestock industry is an example of the cruel and inhumane treatment of Yellowstone bison every year at the gateways to America's first National Park.

Please help end this harsh and needless "management" of America's only continuously free-ranging, wild, genetically pure buffalo herd by speaking out for the buffalo. Check out the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act Cosponsors to find out if your U.S. Representative is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3446, The Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act. If not, encourage them to become a co-sponsor by calling or writing today. Also, please take the time to read on and write a letter to the editor (see below) for the buffalo. When enough people know, and enough people care, and people get involved, we will all celebrate the day that Yellowstone buffalo will once again be truly free. 

For the buffalo,
for the earth,
Josh Osher 
-----------------------------
A great big thanks to all our supporters who have been so generous during this holy day season!

Our "supporter to supporter" gifts and t-shirts have been flying out the door and many folks will enjoy the great buffalo gifts. We have new offerings including fine prints, sculptures, new jewelry offering and more & there's still time to check it out at: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/pcshop2/bazaar.html

Thanks, Melanie for the wonderful auction, Mariah for the jewelry magic, Paula for the beautiful watercolors, Adrienne & Zacharie for the pottery, Judy for the sculpture, and to all of you who have made gift donations in a friends name! A big thanks to our incredible allies at Guacamole, to the Wilburforce Foundation, and to Charlie's Fund for the volunteer hollyday cheer! Your cards and care packages have brightened the cold days (-8 degrees last night) of our hard working volunteers in the field who are away from their own families to work with the buffalo during this season.

Our buffalo family is indeed awe inspiring. Welcome to those of you who are just joining with us to raise our voices for the last wild, free roaming buffalo! And to our allies that have been working hard on this issue over the years - we couldn't be here without you! Grassroots really does work!

I hope that as the days grow longer - our combined efforts strengthen our circles for the buffalo.
With humble thanks,
For the Buffalo,
Su
---------------------------
Take Action

As you've probably heard, a federal judge has reinstated a plan to phase out snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park by the winter of 2004-2005. This ruling has brought much attention to the Yellowstone region and shone a bright light on the highly political motives which drive the decision making in our nation's first park. 

We see this as a great opportunity to draw further attention to the current buffalo slaughter. We urge you to write a letter to the editor to your local (or even national) newspapers. Also, it would be a good time to contact your local representatives. Here are some suggestions for what to include in your letter and a sample letter that we will be submitting to the local Montana papers. Please check out our website at http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo for more detailed information about the current buffalo slaughter.

Points to include in letters to the editor:
1)
Hold the the Park Service responsible for their involvement in the buffalo slaughter; they killed 231 buffalo that were inside Yellowstone National Park (YNP) last March. The buffalo were captured at the Stephen's Creek Facility inside YNP and transported to slaughter by the Montana Department of Livestock. None of these buffalo were tested for brucellosis prior to being sent to slaughter.
2)
Federal judge, Emmet Sullivan stated in his ruling that the Park Service ignored studies that said groomed roads for snowmobiles and snowcoaches are harmful to bison because they create unnatural corridors for the buffs to travel on.
3)
Montana says the slaughter is necessary because bison will transmit brucellosis to cattle. There has never been a documented case of wild bison to cattle transmission under natural conditions. The governments own studies indicate that the risk of brucellosis transmission from most wild bison is low. 
4)
Mention the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act, H.R. 3446. It offers common sense solutions and, most important, an alternative to the current plan. Read about it on our website: http://www.wildrockies.org/Buffalo/politico/3446.html. Please check to see if your local representative is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3446. If so thank them in your letter to the editor for signing on. If not, please encourage them to become a co-sponsor and encourage others in your area to write or call in support of H.R. 3446.
5)
Tell 'em why this herd is special. It is the last of the free-ranging buffalo that used to roam this continent in numbers as high as 30 to 60 million. The Yellowstone herd are the only wild, genetically pure bison that have continuously occupied their native range.
6) a
nd, of course, personalize your letter. If you've been to Yellowstone tell your story.

Here is a sample letter to the editor:
WHAT STINKS IN YELLOWSTONE?
The recent decision by a federal judge to reinstate a plan that will ban snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park by 2005 and decrease by nearly half the snowmobile traffic in Yellowstone this winter has shone a bright light on the highly political motives that drive the decision making in our nation's first park.

The judge noted in his decision that the Park Service ignored studies stating that groomed roads for snowmobile and snowcoach use are harmful to bison because they create unnatural corridors that lead the buffalo out of the Park and into unfriendly and often fatal territory.
This issue is really only a drop in the fetid barrel of Yellowstone National Park's wildlife management problems. For when bison walk out of the park, on groomed roads or not, and into the state of Montana they are hazed, captured and often killed.
The National Park Service killed 231 bison near the north entrance of the park last March. The herd size of the last wild and free ranging bison is estimated at about only 4,000 animals, not nearly enough to protect the genetic wellspring of the most genetically variable bison in the world.

Montana livestock officials claim they are afraid bison will transmit a disease called brucellosis to their cattle. This disease, which was brought to North America by European livestock, causes birthing cows to abort their first born. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle under natural conditions. And yet, the great bison slaughter continues.

Nearly 3,700 Yellowstone bison have been killed in the past 18 years. It began with the settling of the west and our culture's boastful affirmation of "Manifest Destiny" when, it is estimated, 30 million bison were killed. It is continued today by the people entrusted with preserving our nation's wildlife: The National Park Service.

Billy Williams
____________________________
Last Words:
"I had to cross the road, which I had been pretending did not exist. I waited below the edge of a high bank hidden behind a small grove of young pines, watching the sporadic flow of Winnebagos strung out along the highway. I did not want to be seen.

Whatever transcendence I had gained watching the grizzlies the day before slipped away as I crouched nervously below the road grade for fifteen minutes. I sank even lower into the trees as a ranger car passed. I didn't want to let them know I was about. If I got into serious trouble, I didn't want to be rescued. My considerable carcass could feed the bears.

Traffic thinned out. I darted across the pavement onto a buffalo trail cutting through the last bank of spring snow, leaving no tracks." - Doug Peacock, THE GRIZZLY YEARS.

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