Update from the Field
Dear Friends of Buffalo,
It is a sad time for the sacred Buffalo.
In the past two weeks Yellowstone National Park has
killed more than one-tenth of the existing herd of the
country's last wild buffalo. It is hard to imagine how
an agency sworn to protect our native wildlife can have
a hand in slaughtering these gentle, sacred beings.
But it is true. Since January 12, Yellowstone National
Park has captured 672 wild buffalo in the Stephens Creek
Capture Facility, located inside the boundaries of the
world's first national park. As of this morning, they
have sent 558 buffalo to slaughter. Included are calves,
bulls and non-pregnant females - none of which pose
any risk of transmitting brucellosis to livestock. Indeed,
there has never been a case of any wild buffalo transmitting
brucellosis back to the cattle they got it from. As
if native wild buffalo were a terrorist threat, they
are being escorted to their deaths by the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security.
The Park Service has also sent 87 baby buffalo to the
Corwin Springs Quarantine Facility. These buffalo join
the 14 that were captured and transported there last
spring. During their confinement they will be used in
a government scientific experiment. To date, one hundred
wild baby buffalo suffer this fate. Please see the section
below about sending your comments on Phase II &
III of the government's quarantine plan - you can help
prevent this from happening to other wild baby buffalo
in the future.
Twenty-five buffalo remain in the trap (three have died
in the facility due to injuries caused by confinement
and handling). Tomorrow morning they will join the rest
in being sent to slaughter. The trap will be empty.
The landscape is also much emptier. With the trap void
of captive buffalo, the Park Service will be ready for
more capture and slaughter. They have been actively
hazing this week, and we know buffalo will go where
buffalo want to go, and the Park Service will call them
"unhazable" and then they will capture them
and send them to slaughter. Why?
The National Park Service (disservice?) defends their
position under the Interagency Bison Management Plan,
yet the plan is, in part, set up to protect a wild,
free-roaming herd of buffalo. Free-roaming and wild
mean migration for buffalo, but the Park Service blocks
this natural motion, like damming a great river. So
they do not protect. They harm. They impair. The buffalo
shouldn't find a foe in the National Park Service, yet
there is no friendship. Instead of being a voice for
the last wild buffalo, the Park Service has become a
puppet for cattle business. The Plan states that the
Park Service "may" kill, it doesn't state
that they MUST. They have a choice. They have chosen
These buffalo are being denied habitat and dying because
of a handful of cattle that graze along the Park's northern
boundary near Gardiner, MT. Land that the buffalo are
supposed to be allowed to access. It's the Royal Teton
Ranch, owned by the Church Universal and Triumphant
(CUT). It lies in the middle of North America's largest
migration corridor, just across the northern boundary
of Yellowstone National Park. In 1998, U.S. taxpayers
spent $13 million for conservation easements that would
allow wild buffalo and other wildlife to access this
migration corridor along portions of CUT's property.
Yet, the buffalo continue to die. The people were lead
to believe that the money spent would benefit buffalo,
but nothing has changed. CUT got the $13 million, but
what did that get the buffalo? CUT is beginning to feel
some pressure about their involvement in wild buffalo
slaughter, and we must keep it on.
Meanwhile, Phase II of Montana's illegitimate bison
hunt continues. Since the second phase began, 15 buffalo
have fallen to the gun. This hunt is wrong because wild
buffalo are not ever allowed to be in Montana without
being harassed, captured, slaughtered, quarantined,
or shot. It is wrong because the Montana Department
of Livestock (DOL) is in charge. It is wrong because
of the existence of the Interagency Bison Management
Plan. It is wrong because Montana still rejects wild
buffalo as a native wildlife species and denies them
How many more buffalo must die before the injustice
to their race ends? How long will the people stand for
the livestock industry controlling our wildlife and
wild lands? How much longer will the American people
and the wild buffalo have to take the insults from our
National Park Service? Below are three entities that
must be contacted; we must raise our voices together
in defense of the last wild buffalo:
1. Yellowstone National Park Superintendent
Suzanne Lewis (307-344-2002) - Tell her that the Park
Service is mandated to protect wildlife, not slaughter
for the sake of cattle interests. Tell her that Yellowstone's
participation in the slaughter of the last wild buffalo
is shameful and unacceptable. Just speak from your heart
for the buffalo and tell her how you feel.
Universal & Triumphant (800-245-5445) - Tell
CUT they are a responsible party in the slaughter of
the country's last wild buffalo. Tell them to finalize
the agreement that was started eight years ago. Remind
them that they took money from the American people and
that money was exchanged for land to be used by wild
3. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
(406-444-3111) - Tell him to provide wild buffalo with
a home range in Montana. Tell him that Montana was home
to wild buffalo tens of thousands of years before the
recent arrival of European cattle, and they have a natural
right to exist freely. Tell him that Montana must respect,
protect, and help recover wild buffalo, and when that
is done he will have our support.
Thank you for taking these important actions and for
your support of our efforts to protect the last wild
buffalo left in America.
For the Buffalo,
* National Call-in Day February 2nd
Yellowstone National Park has slaughtered one-tenth
(1/10) of the last wild herd of buffalo. This is tragic
and unacceptable behavior from an agency sworn to protect
wildlife. Yellowstone is a biosphere reserve, a world
heritage site, the first national park on planet Earth.
It is not acceptable for the Park Service to kill wild
buffalo to appease the unfounded fears of one special
interest - the livestock industry. Yellowstone National
Park must hear from everyone who cares about wild buffalo.
Remind them of their role: "to protect the resources
unimpaired for present and future generations."
Thursday, February 2nd, from 8:30-5:00 (MST) Buffalo
Field Campaign will join with the Animal Welfare Institute
and wild buffalo advocates far and wide in a national
call-in day. We're going to let Yellowstone hear from
all of us, all at once.
YELLOWSTONE: STOP THE
We will not go away until they stop the slaughter and
protect wild buffalo migration - that's what we'll remind
them of when we make their phone ring off the hook next
Thursday. We'll send you a reminder before it's time
to make the calls. Please pass the word along to your
friends, family and colleagues.
* Help Baby Buffalo - Quarantine Comments Needed
One hundred wild baby buffalo are now captive inside
the Corwin Springs Quarantine Facility. You can help
prevent this from becoming the fate of other wild baby
The government - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
(FWP) and USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) - intends to expand their bison quarantine
facility and are currently accepting public comments
on Phase II & III of their Quarantine Feasibility
Study. Comments are due February 13, 2006. People of
West Yellowstone requested a meeting to be held in town
here, or in Gardiner, since this is where the buffalo
harassment and capture takes place. FWP has refused
The government's goal is to "create a disease-free
herd" of buffalo. They want to call them "wild"
when they are done, but they will be anything but. The
baby buffalo used in this experiment have been captured
from the wild Yellowstone region, their mothers and
family members have been sent to slaughter. These buffalo
will be domesticated and will not know what it means
to be wild. They will be tested and tested again for
brucellosis antibodies, and those that test "positive"
will go to slaughter. Those that don't will remain in
captivity for a breeding program so the government can
continue to conduct their mad-scientist experiment.
Brucellosis is a cattle disease - don't you think it's
time the cattle industry took responsibility for it?
For more details on the Quarantine Plan, including where
to send your comments, please visit: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/actionalerts.html.
Contact Josh at bfc-advocate"at"wildrockies.org
with questions, and please send us a copy of your comments.
* The Power of Buffalove
Valentine's Day is on the near horizon. On this day
dedicated to love, we invite you to honor your loved
ones with a gift truly from the heart. Instead of (or
in addition to) candy, flowers, and trinkets, let Buffalo
Field Campaign send a valentine in your name. It's cheap,
it's easy, yet it means so much!
These cards are handmade with lots of love and they
are absolutely beautiful. Send some Buffalove this Valentines
Day and support the good work of BFC in the process!
* Last words
"Each of us is put here in this time and this place
to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you
think the Creator would create unnecessary people in
a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself
are essential to this World. Believe that! Understand
both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself
are desperately needed to save the soul of this World.
Did you think you were put here for something else?"
~ Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper
of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe