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Weekly Update from the Field April 13, 2006
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* Thank You!
* Update from the Field
* Schweitzer Presents His Bison Plan to Area Ranchers
* A Mirror Situation: Canada's Wood Buffalo
* BFC at Earth Day New York this Weekend!
* Handmade Mother's Day Cards Available Now!
* Last Words

* 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 alike.
Many many thanks!
~BFC
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* 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 economic gain.

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 night.

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.
Roam Free,
~Stephany
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* Schweitzer Presents His Bison Plan to Area Ranchers
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 his ideas.

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 http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2006/04/13/breakingnews/10schweitzer.txt.

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
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* 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 herd.

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.
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* 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 bison.

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.
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* 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
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* 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 Deer, Lakota


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