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Weekly Update from the Field January 13, 2005
* Update from the Field - Park Service Shoots Grandmother Buffalo
* Buffalo Victory! Hunt Canceled for this Year
* Thanks!
* Support the Buffalo -- Donate to BFC Today!
* Last Words

* Update from the Field - Park Service Shoots Grandmother Buffalo

It has been a week of extreme ups and downs for the buffalo.

On Monday, a special meeting of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission was held in Helena, and the Commission voted 4-1 to cancel the buffalo hunt that would have begun this Saturday. This is a monumental victory for the buffalo; the best news to come their way in a very long time. Thank you for your help in making this happen. More information is below.
 
On Tuesday, Department of Livestock agents began to roll into town. They gathered, they plowed out the Duck Creek buffalo trap, they revved up their snowmobiles. They took a few joy rides around the landscape looking for "stray" buffalo. They were not happy about the previous day's decision that canceled the buffalo hunt, and they were going to get themselves a buffalo. The agents had their sites set on a big bull who had chosen to be just outside the park, in a neighborhood that lies right in a migratory corridor. This bull escaped them before, and he escaped them again. DOL agents, Park Service, Gallatin County Sheriff, U.S. Forest Service--nearly all the major players in the buffalo slaughter--were dressed to capture and kill. But he got away. They attempted to capture him, but he was too smart. As they hounded him with their snowmobiles, trying to force him this way and that, he chose his own way and dashed into the (relative) safety of the Park's borders.

Then yesterday we received a phone call from a supporter in Gardiner. I remember Mike answering the phone, saying to the caller "What is it? You don't sound too happy." That's when we learned that a female buffalo was shot and killed by the National Park Service, inside Yellowstone National Park. She was old. She was alone. She was perhaps preparing herself to die with dignity. She left the confines of the Park, venturing to ancestral grounds. Today this land "belongs" to the Church Universal and Triumphant; the Royal Teton Ranch. This is the very land that citizens of this country paid $13 million for so that buffalo could have access to it. That was in 1998. Buffalo that even attempt to approach this land are gunned down or rounded up and sent to slaughter. The Park Service said that this beautiful grandmother buffalo was a risk because she was female. Sounds like a witch-hunt. The Park Service was protecting the livestock interests, not the wildlife they are mandated to protect. It was a Park Service agent who pulled the trigger and ended her life.

Read the press release we sent out yesterday:

Right now it is snowing. They say an arctic blast is coming, perhaps with a great amount of snow. Temperatures could drop down to as low as minus 70 with the windchill. Buffalo, they say, will turn and face into such a storm. There is a lesson here. We will be ready for whatever storm comes our way.

For the Buffalo,

~Stephany

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*Buffalo Victory! Hunt Canceled for this Year!

Thanks to each and every one of you who applied for a permit, wrote letters to the editor, contacted Governor Schweitzer, and encouraged your friends and family to do these things, the pressure was applied and the buffalo hunt has been canceled for this year!

On Monday, Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Commission voted 4-1 to cancel the buffalo hunt. BFC members Mike Mease and Josh Osher ventured to Helena and gave powerful testimony to the Commission, blasting bad science and reminding people that hunting heritage in this country goes back much further than four generations of settlers. With buffalo not being considered wildlife, not having access to habitat in Montana, being used to thousands of park visitors, and with no Indian treaty rights being upheld, this hunt was absolutely the wrong thing to do.

Montana's new governor, Brian Schweitzer, recognized the black-eye the hunt would give the state, and he made the right moves that lead to its cancellation. BFC applauds Governor Schweitzer for his leadership and we urge you to take this moment to thank Governor Schweitzer for doing the right thing for the buffalo and for Montana. Please let him know how pleased you are about the cancelation, and urge him to keep his word in securing more habitat for the buffalo. Governor Scheweitzer can be reached at:

Office of the Governor
PO Box 200801
State Capitol
Helena MT 59620-0801
406-444-3111, FAX 406-444-5529
governor@mt.gov

We should celebrate this victory without letting our guard down. The buffalo are not in the clear by a long shot. Plans to hunt buffalo next year, starting in November, are underway. The current mismanagement plan that allows for the hazing, capture, test-and-slaughter of our last wild buffalo continues. Buffalo are also threatened with a new quarantine program and a new vaccination program by the agencies who would foolishly attempt to eradicate brucellosis.
 
Was your name drawn? On Tuesday FWP went ahead with the lottery drawing and drew the names of the ten people who will have a shot at a buffalo next fall. All the names drawn are from Montana. There were 8,372 applications submitted, with 307 from out of state. Everyone who applied for a permit and didn't have their name drawn will have their money refunded by FWP.

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* Thanks!

Guacamole Socked it to Us!
Your gift arrived - a box full of warm and cozy socks! Thanks to you, there will be a lot of very happy feet out on those frigid patrols. We appreciate your giving to us, especially in a time of your own need. Thank you so much, Guacamole.

Patagonia for your Help in Stopping the Hunt!
The Patagonia outdoor clothing company has been a long-time supporter of the Buffalo Field Campaign and was instrumental in helping to stop the hunt. Thank you Patagonia for your unfailing support!

On the Road Again!
Thanks to Chris and Tom for working so hard under such difficult conditions to replace the engine in our primary patrol car and for getting the rest of our small fleet up and running. These guys are true magicians and we couldn't be out in the field without them. Check out these photos to see what we mean: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/lifeatcamp.html

And to Everyone...
Who continues to keep us in the field with all of the gifts you bring to BFC. Every day we receive the best gifts from all over the country and the world. Without you we would not exist. Thank you for your generous donations, the gift of your inspiration, your belief in the cause, and your love of the buffalo.

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* Support the Buffalo -- Donate to BFC Today!

The cancellation of this year's buffalo hunt is a prime example of the power of the Buffalo Field Campaign community. We provided reporters and supporters with information on the hunt and why it should be stopped. Reporters responded by making plans to travel to Yellowstone to cover the hunt, which would have given Montana an international black eye. Supporters responded by applying for permits they never planned on using and encouraging friends to do the same, and by writing and calling Governor Schweitzer to express outrage that such a hunt was planned. This outpouring for the buffalo was real and strong and let the governor know that his only real choice was to stop the hunt.

We are the definition of grassroots, an organization of committed individuals working from the ground up to affect change in the world. We are here with the buffalo to bear witness so we can share the truth with and inspire people around the world to take action. We have no high paid staff or fancy offices and we don't waste a dime. Every donation we receive goes directly to our front-lines work of protecting the Yellowstone buffalo.

The majority of the Buffalo Field Campaign's funding comes through individual donations sent in by buffalo supporters like you. These donations enable all levels of our work: feeding, housing, and equipping our amazing volunteers; documenting and distributing images of buffalo in the wild and under the duress of hazing, capture, and slaughter; opposing on all levels the nefarious agency plans to subjugate the buffalo and organizing a strong network of buffalo advocates across the country and around the world.

With the roughest part of our season looming, we need your support to keep our volunteers in the field. Please contribute to our efforts today. No donation is too small and all are tax-deductible. Thank you!

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* Last Words

"Some people feel discouraged by the avalanche of species extinctions occurring in the world today, but it is possible to feel challenged, instead by the need to do something to stop the destruction. Actions taken - or bypassed - during the next few decades will determine how many of the world's species will survive. "
~Richard B. Primack, Essentials of Conservation Biology


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