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Weekly Update from the Field April 28, 2005
* Update from the Field
* Call on Montana's Governor to Stop the Slaughter!
* It's Back! The Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
* Week of Action - Boycott the Livestock Industry
* Buffalo Ceremony Rescheduled for May 14
* Last Words

* 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,
~Stephany

P.S. To read Roman's poetic account of the day, visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/sanchez3.html
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* 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
State Capitol
Helena, MT 59620-0801
Phone: 1-406-444-3111
Fax: 1-406-444 5529 
E-mail: Governor@state.mt.us
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* It's Back! The Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
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:
http://buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
To learn more about the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legislative/buffalopreservation.html
For more information contact Josh at bfc-advocate"at"wildrockies.org.
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* 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 wild buffalo!
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* 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 thoughts.

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.
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* 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


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