Update from the Field
Migrations are underway. Nearly all of the buffalo
that haven't been needlessly forced to do so, have,
of their own accord, returned to the high country of
Yellowstone National Park.
As usual, the Montana Department of Livestock's (DOL)
pushing, shoving, harassing and slaughtering for the
past nine months was utterly rude, excessive, and entirely
unnecessary. But, hey, they got to feel self-important
while they spent your tax dollars harassing, slaughtering
and domesticating the country's last wild buffalo.
They got to terrorize human and animal neighborhoods
to the point of driving many inhabitants away.
They got to break rules the rest of us must follow,
entering into areas that are closed to humans to protect
the wild. They got to ride around on (and trash)
expensive, rented motorized toys, exhaust their horses,
fly their choppers, and enjoy meals all on U.S..
They got to hang out in one of the most beautiful places
in the world, only to wreak havoc, disrupt the stillness,
shred the landscape, make a lot of noise, and shove
wild buffalo around.
Why must these wasteful, harmful actions continue every
year? They don't have to. True, it's all
written in "the Plan" and people say, "well,
that's the way it is." We must refuse that
way of thinking. Like the wild buffalo refuse
to be told where they can be, we must refuse acceptance
of "the Plan." This year alone agencies
cited the Interagency Bison Management Plan as a reason
to kill 98 of our last wild buffalo. The same
agencies are holding 17 yearlings prisoner, to be raised
in domestication. The government officials calling
the shots are not allowing themselves to think outside
the very tight box they've constructed for themselves.
A box that kills, manages, collars, tags and drives
wildness away. This horrible plan is a government
plan, and the government is still of the people and
for the people, so if we don't like it, we must change
it. It's not only our right, it's our duty.
We can change the status quo - rust the livestock industry's
iron fist - and reclaim the land for the last wild buffalo!
Human migrations are also underway. Like the buffalo,
BFC volunteers are on the move. Selfless souls,
brave in their hearts, strong in their minds, heavily
touched by the mighty buffalo. After an intense
field season these eco-warriors are now on their way
to their "other lives". We give thanks
for these incredible people we were so blessed with
this year. There is not a one who did not give
everything of him/herself. Each person's dedication
to the buffalo, and to the campaign, is what makes it
work. We were brought together by the buffalo,
and the buffalo bind us forever now. Parting is
hard. To name you all, to thank each of you, would
not be possible. But you know who you are...Thank
you! Here's to the great friends we have made,
and to meeting again in the snowy fields of West Yellowstone
and standing in defense of the last wild buffalo for
as long as it takes.
We now enter the season of telling. This is the
time BFC volunteers go from the fields, back to the
cities and neighborhoods, and tell the buffalo's story.
This is the time for sharing with others what we have
experienced, what the buffalo endure. This is
the time to increase the herd, gather to our cause of
wild free buffalo the voices that will speak up, the
hands that will lift camera or pen, the minds that will
Some of us will spend our summers tabling in the park,
sharing information on the buffalo with thousands of
people who visit the park. Already we have met
tourists asking why so many of the Yellowstone buffalo
are wearing big and ugly collars, ear tags, and stripes
down their backs. People are shocked, and rightly
so, to learn that some of the wild Yellowstone buffalo
are treated more like cattle than America's wildest
Later in the summer and in the fall we will engage upon
our West and East Coast Road Shows. If you live
near one of the coasts, and would like more information
on arranging a BFC presentation in your community, please
get in touch.
Send an email to: bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org
and bring the buffalo's message to your neighborhood.
Save the Herd, Spread the Word!
Stephany & Dan
* Three Things You Can Do Today to Protect
1. Support the Yellowstone Buffalo
Preservation Act, call your Congress-person today!
Thanks to the leadership of U.S. Representatives Maurice
Hinchey and Charles Bass, HR 2428, the Yellowstone Buffalo
Preservation Act, is currently gaining support in the
US House of Representatives. This legislation
will ensure greater protection for buffalo entering
Montana from Yellowstone and will mandate the dismantling
of the Stephen's Creek trap inside Yellowstone.
To learn more about HR 2428, check our web site:
To find the name of your Representative and to contact
him/her, click here:
2. Contact Montana's Governor
Montana's governor has the potential to be a great friend
of the buffalo. Call Governor Schweitzer at (406)
444-3111 and urge him to protect America's last wild
herd of buffalo. Remind him that the majesty of
Montana is in its vast wildness, and that wildness is
complete and whole with free-roaming buffalo.
No matter if you live in Montana, or anywhere in the
country, the Yellowstone buffalo herd is our country's
wild heritage. They are the last living link to
the tens of millions that once roamed the entire country.
Urge Montana's governor to be proud of this, and honor
and respect the last wild buffalo, giving them room
to roam freely in Montana. Make his phone
ring off the hook! Call Governor Brian Schweitzer
at (406) 444-3111. Thank you!
3. Contribute to the BFC.
The Buffalo Field Campaign is a true grassroots organization
applying all its resources to Buffalo protection.
We work everyday, all year, to document what happens
to the buffalo and share their story with the world.
We envision a day when wild buffalo will be honored
and respected in Montana. Help us realize this
You can send a tax-deductible contribution to the address
listed below or make a quick and secure donation by
clicking the "Donate Now" button on our web
Thank you for your support!
* The Buffalo Family
The buffalo circle is strong and unbroken. Buffalo
are steadfast in their ties to one another. So
much so that they willingly risk their freedom for the
right to stand where they chose to. So much so
that they would give everything of themselves for family.
Even those loners, the great old bulls, they too will
come to each other's rescue or defense when the situation
calls for it.
Over the weekend, from every direction, past volunteers
came pouring into the West Yellowstone area to celebrate
the wedding of two very special people. We stood
together on the banks of the Madison River, at the heart
of the buffalo's habitat, and formed a circle.
Returning volunteers who we haven't seen in years stood
beside volunteers who showed up for the first time this
winter and whose dedication wouldn't let them leave
until the buffalo are safe.
The theme of commitment kept reasserting itself.
Yarrow and Yote exchanged beautiful vows, as much to
the land and the buffalo as to one another. Justine
and Roman, presiding over an inspired ceremony drawn
from their own experience of marriage, paid tribute
to the ecosystem and reminded us how the buffalo are
represented in each of the four directions. We
gave tours of the area to Yote and Yarrow's friends
and families, and even had a BFC table set up at their
wedding reception. We danced and celebrated and
we also remembered suffering, and in that we reinforced
our commitments to the buffalo and to each other.
A special thanks to everyone who shared in such a special
time, and to the families of Yarrow and Yote who hosted
the events and made the celebration possible.
* Last Words
"The buffalo represent everything that is GOOD."
~Hunter, BFC Volunteer