* Thank You!
A huge heartfelt THANK YOU to the incredibly generous
supporters who made it possible for us to purchase the
highway safety equipment we need. We are humbled by
how quickly you responded to this call for help, and
so grateful to you for enabling us to make buffalo road
crossings safer for BFC patrols, the buffalo, and travelers
Many many thanks!
* Update from the Field
Three hundred wild buffalo still remain in the Stephens
Creek bison trap, located inside the northern boundary
of Yellowstone National Park, near Gardiner. Park officials
will meet Friday to discuss releasing the buffalo. They've
been trapped there for over three weeks, since March
22. At least two aborted fetuses have been reported
in the trap. Yesterday, a mother buffalo died after
giving birth in the trap. The calf, orphaned though
otherwise seemingly healthy, was euthanized by the Park
Service. According an article in the Helena Independent
Record, "The calf was euthanized Wednesday afternoon
using a sedative that put it in a deep sleep and then
a bolt that went through its brain." Officials
said they didn't know of any other lactating buffalo
that might take the calf in, nor did they want to bottle
feed it for fear of it becoming habituated to humans.
Yet, somehow the Park Service can justify keeping the
buffalo trapped, feeding them hay and providing them
water. By forcing wild buffalo to live in these unnatural
conditions, especially during the buffalo's calving
season, agents put buffalo at risk of transmitting diseases
- like brucellosis - to one another. They also don't
blink an eye at turning wild buffalo calves over to
a state-federal quarantine experiment that will result
in half being slaughtered and the rest relegated to
more than four years of life in captivity, experimentation,
and other forms of invasive human handling. Ironically,
in the face of nearly 1,000 buffalo being permanently
"removed" from the last wild population, Park
officials claimed that killing the newborn buffalo was
"not a decision that anyone here takes lightly
or came too easily." The government contradicts
themselves; their actions and policies are just a matter
for their own convenience and the livestock industry's
The American bison is treated worse than any other wildlife
species in the National Park System. Demonstrating that
they are unfit to don the mighty bison on their badges,
BFC & Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
(PEER) want your suggestions for replacing the buffalo
emblem with one that best represents the National Park
Service and Department of Interior. Be creative! The
deadline for entries is this Saturday, April 15, 2006.
Enter at http://www.peer.org/campaigns/buffalo_contest.php.
Here along the Park's western boundary, things have
been relatively quiet. Eerily quiet, in fact, as it's
already mid-April and we haven't been seeing the large
migrations normal for this time of year. Winter has
been tough and the Park Service and Department of Livestock
slaughter has been a massacre. An enormous toll has
been taken on this last wild herd. The roads also continue
to claim buffalo lives. Though motorists are alerted
to the presence of buffalo on the road, not everyone
heeds the warning signs or speed limits set in place,
nor is there adequate enforcement. Sadly, Monday morning,
as BFC patrols set out to the field, a dead bull buffalo
was spotted at the junction of highway 191 and 287.
His massive body was likely struck by a semi in the
On Tuesday, patrols prepared for a hazing operation
as agents gathered at Dale Koelzer's house. But the
agents huddled briefly, then left town and haven't been
seen since. Good riddance for now, though we know they'll
be back soon to harm the sacred buffalo. BFC will be
here to set the eyes of the world upon their every move.
* Schweitzer Presents His Bison Plan to Area
Governor Brian Schweitzer flew into West Yellowstone
yesterday to present his bison plan to ranchers in West
Yellowstone. There are just a few private landowners
who run small herds of cattle on their land during the
warmer months from mid June to October. Schweitzer wants
Montana to pay the ranchers to remove their cattle,
thereby giving the buffalo a little more breathing room
and reducing the perceived risk of brucellosis transmission.
The truth is, the risk of transmission is already minuscule
at most. Brucellosis transmission from wild bison to
cattle has never happened and the only time transmission
could theoretically occur is during calving season.
No cattle are present when the buffalo give birth in
late-April to early-June. By June most buffalo have
migrated back to the high country of Yellowstone. The
Governor also talked about how he wants to expand the
bison hunt, but, due to the killing conducted by the
NPS and DOL, there wont be too many bison left for Montana
hunters to shoot at. Ironically, Schweitzer also mentioned
how hazing, capturing and slaughtering wild buffalo
costs the state money, yet the state doesn't pay a single
dime. All bison mismanagement activities in the Yellowstone
area are 100% federally funded. Today, Schweitzer is
travelling to Gardiner to talk with ranchers there about
BFC is cautiously optimistic of Governor Schweitzer's
new plans. We are encouraged by his willingness to work
with area ranchers to remove cattle from the buffalo's
habitat and believe this is a common-sense, cattle-based
risk management approach. Yet, we are certainly on guard
because new 'drop dead zones' and increased hunting
are also part of the plan. We will support the Governor's
efforts to the extent that wild buffalo are truly provided
more habitat, more tolerance and are respected and valued
as a native wildlife species, allowed to restore themselves
in their native Montana. In addition to consulting with
ranchers, we also encourage Governor Schweitzer to work
with Montana's Indian community and include the wisdom
of First Nations as he seeks alternatives to the current
buffalo management scheme.
The full article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle is
available (today only; it's a subscriber web site) at
Or, you can read the Associated Press story on the Billings
Gazette site: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/04/13/news/state/35-governor.txt
* BFC at Earth Day New York this Weekend!
We are pleased to let you know that supporters from
New York City will host a Buffalo Field Campaign table
at Earth Day New York, happening this weekend. Located
in Grand Central Station, the Earth Day New York BFC
table is sure to reach thousands of people, helping
to raise awareness and inspire action. If you live in
or near NYC, try to stop by and say hello to fellow
Yellowstone buffalo supporters. Take action and lend
a hand to help them spread the word about this special
For details visit BFC's *NEW* events page: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/events.html.
Thank you Jo Anne and Kathy for speaking up for the
last wild buffalo at Earth Day New York!
If you are planning a buffalo-related event that you'd
like us to post on our site, send the details (who,
what, when, where, contact info) to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org.
* A Mirror Situation: Canada's Wood Buffalo
There exists in North America a herd of wild bison whose
connection to the land they roam stretches back for
thousands of years. They have been providers to the
people for as long as history can recall; sharing their
flesh and their hides and the majesty of their presence.
Yet the human government of this land is now considering
the complete extermination of the country's last truly
wild buffalo herd.
If this sounds familiar, it's not because we're referring
to the buffalo of Yellowstone, though a very close relationship
exists between the two herds. The bison in question
reside at the border of Alberta and Northwest Territories,
in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park.
The bison in Wood Buffalo were infected with tuberculosis
and brucellosis when a large number of bison from Montana
were introduced in the 1920s. Concerns that the diseases
would spread were small until recent decades, as ranching
and development moved further north.
Canada's largest and only continuously free-roaming
herd of bison came dangerously close to complete extermination
in 1990, when the Canadian government gave the go-ahead
to a plan that would allow for the slaughter of the
entire herd and the reintroduction of healthy bison
from managed herds in nearby Elk Island National Park.
Public outrage and the lack of a clear plan for repopulating
the park led to the Armageddon Solution‚ being
put on hold pending further research.
This past month, a group of scientists at the University
of Alberta provided the government with the answers
they had been lacking in 1990. What was once an unthinkable
fate for the 2,900 bison in Wood Buffalo National Park
is once again back on the table as a possible scenario.
The Yellowstone buffalo herd is America's last wild
herd, while the Wood Buffalo herd is Canada's last wild
herd. Together they make up North America's last wild
Don't let the Canadian government even think of implementing
this cruel plan. There are still alternatives left that
are far less drastic than this barbaric plan.
Go to http://www.savethewildbison.org,
learn more about the situation these bison are facing
and contact the agencies charged with the protection
of these sacred beings. Help ensure the survival of
Canada's last truly wild buffalo.
- Many thanks to Kalanu, BFC volunteer from Canada,
for creating this alert and informative web page.
* Handmade Mother's Day Cards Available Now!
Mother's Day is just right around the corner, on May
14th. Celebrate the nurturing women in your life and
help protect wild buffalo mothers by giving the gift
of a beautiful handcrafted Mother's Day card. All proceeds
go to the front lines work of the Buffalo Field Campaign,
the only group working in the field, every day, in defense
of America's last wild buffalo.
To place your Mother's Day card order visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/mothersday.html
* Last Words
"We Lakota have a close relationship to the buffalo.
He is our brother. You can't understand about nature,
about the feeling we have toward it, unless you understand
how close we were to the buffalo. That animal was almost
like a part of ourselves, part of our souls." Lame