Update from the Field
There are baby buffalo afoot in West Yellowstone!
On Sunday, Dan and I went out on Horse Butte to do a
recon. We took our lunch near the edge of the lake,
now flowing water and teeming with amazing bird life
and jumping fish. We spotted a small herd of buffalo
across the way along the bluffs. Down below them, on
the beach, was a lone female buffalo. Dan thought maybe
she had gone there to give birth.
Needless to say, we were hopeful and excited. At another
glance our excitement grew; we saw the little red one...
a dancing baby buffalo, full of life and exploring this
new world! Sheltered by the company of its mother, aunts,
and sisters, the small group of eight ambled gracefully
along the north bluffs of the Madison river and disappeared
into the forest.
The arrival of the next generation of the country's
last wild buffalo is happening now. This is such an
amazing time. Truly a time we should be celebrating.
But what will the little one's futures hold? Will it
be the war zone of the Interagency Bison Management
Plan? Will their first steps be taken in flight from
cruel cowboys? Will their introduction to the world
be the same intolerance and disrespect, harassment and
slaughter, humiliation and domestication their relatives
have been shown? It doesn't have to be.
Yesterday was a mad dash of salt in the wound. Roman
and I were on Fir Ridge, watching the Department of
Livestock, National Park Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife
and Parks, and other agents getting their horses and
ATVs ready in Dale Koelzer's back yard. We knew a day
of buffalo harassment was about to take place. While
they prepared for their dark and senseless task, we
prepared to document it so we could tell the world.
Though it was very cold and very windy, we were enchanted
by the voices of robins, larks, Sandhill cranes and
many other birds that have just returned to this amazing
place. And then the call came from our rove patrol that
another sort of bird was on it's way. The agents had
sent in a helicopter to harass the buffalo! A helicopter!
We heard the chopper sound growing in the distance and
suddenly, we were in a war zone.
We watched as three huge bulls came running, scared
by the helicopter hovering over their heads and an ATV
at their heels. The buffalo were run down the highway,
through Koelzer's back yard, towards the back gate adjacent
to public land. Once they made it into the supposed
safety of Yellowstone National Park, the chopper pursued
them. It followed them, flying low and noisily, well
into the boundaries of the Park, inside an area that
is "closed to all travel" for grizzly bear
protection. The helicopter chased them hard and far.
Then it went back for more buffalo - four more bulls
were hazed by the helicopter, again chased well inside
the national park, everything was disturbed by this
noisy beast of a bird. The helicopter finished with
them, and went for two more buffalo out on the south
fork of the Madison river, then it refueled (at U.S.
taxpayer expense) and flew off to assist with the hazing
of about 50 buffalo on Horse Butte - many of them nearly
in labor - and bore down on them, pushing them off of
their native landscape. The buffalo fled as if they
were being hounded by a tornado. Can you imagine the
stress that these buffalo went through? Can you imagine
the harm it causes to the pregnant buffalo, to be scared
to death and run like this? What happens after this
madness? How does this effect their pregnancy? What
price do we all pay for these cowboys to come out with
their motorized toys to harass the last wild buffalo?
A baby was spotted again on Horse Butte yesterday. Thankfully,
the herd it was with remained in the safety of the bald
eagle closure. But the buffalo move, and agents are
back out today underway with another haze. What horrors
will the baby buffalo experience? If we do not want
this kind of future to be the lot of the next generation
of wild buffalo, then we must act on their behalf now.
We must speak in their defense immediately. We must
demand that the wild buffalo be set free - forever -
from the clutches of the livestock industry and the
state and federal agencies who do their bidding. We
must create the reality in which the buffalo roam free!
We stand between the last wild buffalo and the forces
that want to destroy them. "We" includes YOU.
Please stand with us in their defense.
For the Last Wild Buffalo,
P.S. To read Roman's poetic account of the day, visit
* Call on Montana's Governor to Stop the Slaughter
Letters, phone calls, and emails to Montana Governor
Brian Schweitzer are needed now. Tell him to own up
to his own words that wild buffalo will "enjoy
more tolerance" in Montana. Tell him to put his
words into action and take the necessary steps that
allow wild buffalo access to Horse Butte. Remind him
that he said the Department of Livestock is "ill-equipped"
to manage America's last wild buffalo, and urge him
to place that authority back with Montana Fish, Wildlife,
and Parks. Remind him that since he's been in office,
the Department of Livestock has killed more wild buffalo
than they have in the past two years combined. Please
keep the pressure on the Governor, and tell him to stop
the harassment, slaughter, and domestication of America's
last wild buffalo now. He can be reached at:
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
Helena, MT 59620-0801
Fax: 1-406-444 5529
* It's Back! The Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation
The Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act, a bill that
will afford the country's last wild buffalo protection
from the Interagency Bison Management Plan will soon
be reintroduced. Please contact your members of Congress
and urge them to support this critical legislation.
We don't yet have a bill number, but will let you know
as soon as we do. Last year we had over 100 cosponsors,
and this year we can and will do even better. Contact
your members of Congress today, and urge them to support
the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act!
To contact your members of Congress visit:
To learn more about the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation
For more information contact Josh at bfc-advocate"at"wildrockies.org.
* Week of Action - Boycott the Livestock Industry
Montana's livestock industry is the driving force behind
the harassment, slaughter, and domestication of the
country's last wild buffalo. Across the country, the
livestock industry is wreaking havoc on our wildlife
and wild lands. The nation's cattle industry controls
and destroys millions of acres of once-pristine ecosystems
- mostly at taxpayer expense - leaving a legacy of a
desolate and ruined landscape.
For our Week of Action the Buffalo Field Campaign will
begin a Boycott of all livestock industry products.
The Week of Action begins this Saturday, April 30 and
goes through Mother's Day, May 8. During this week,
we will practice what we preach, and we will help you
to do the same. It won't stop at the end of the week,
though. We will continue to encourage a Boycott, and
we will continue to bring you resources - information,
essays, recipes, books, videos, etc - to keep you cattle-free,
aware and active.
Chuck has created a terrific web page with all of this
and more. We will continue to build it, and we welcome
your suggestions and inclusions. Check it out: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/weekofaction05.html.
Thank you for joining us in solidarity for the last
* Buffalo Ceremony Rescheduled for May 14
We are sad to announce that the ceremony planned for
this weekend has been postponed for two weeks due to
the tragic death of a close friend of Clem and Keith,
buffalo supporters who are organizing and leading the
prayer. Clem and Keith will be praying with this young
man's family this weekend. Please keep them in your
Mark your calendars for Saturday May 14, and plan to
join us then in praying for the buffalo. Thank you Keith
and Clem for being so steadfast in your desire to help
the buffalo and the volunteers working for their protection.
* Last Words
"[The buffalo slaughter] was another potent agency
in producing the result we enjoy today, in having in
so short a time replaced the wild buffaloes by more
numerous herds of tame cattle, and by substituting for
the useless Indians the intelligent owners of productive
farms and cattle ranches."
~General William Tecumseh Sherman, from his memoirs,1875