Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Here along the Park's western boundary things have been
nothing less than magical. We give thanks for the blissful
times in the presence of wild buffalo, this week unharmed
and un-harassed. Spring is an incredible time to be
with the buffalo after such a long, difficult winter.
As buffalo relish the emerging green grasses, their
energy increases a thousand-fold. The tracks we find
show intermediate signs of buffalo dancing; bulls sparring,
yearlings playing, young buffalo kicking it up, as patient
matriarchs lead the way to greener grass and secluded
birthing grounds. Horse Butte and the Madison River
corridor behold amazing gifts of abundance, and life
manifests itself in numerous, spectacular forms. We
bask in the arms of the Earth, in the presence of wild
buffalo, the soothing, prehistoric cries of the Sand
Hill cranes provide the gentle music of creation. Our
gaze lifts to the skies to see young bald eagles flying
with their parents. Golden eagles swoop down around
us, spreading their great wings, then fly up! up! up!
Higher still, the flight of the white pelican, circling
and floating in freedom on the wings of the wind. Osprey
and bluebird are busying themselves with the important
tasks of caring for life anew, gathering and fishing
and preparing for the young. Spring beauties and buttercups
appear and the sage grows greener, wafting tangy fragrances
as we walk through it. Volunteers are refreshed with
strong spring winds, inspiration and indescribable beauty.
Topping it off, buffalo mothers present little gifts
to the world, in the shape of tiny red calves. Amazing
to know that these little ones will grow up to be mighty,
gentle yet fearless giants. We wonder at the safety
and comfort they must feel to have the strong love and
protection of such a powerful mom and family. Our own
maternal/paternal instincts kick in strong for them
as well. Save for the nature of wolves and weather,
nothing should be able to harm them. They are beautiful
in their innocence with their soft red bodies, little
black hooves, nuzzling noses and dark, wondering eyes.
As they discover what it means to be alive, trying out
their new legs prancing and dancing, hopping and skipping
about the land, their patient, loving mothers carefully
watch them every step of the way. As we follow the buffalo
tracks along their migration route, we also dance with
excitement, seeing the wee prints next to mom's giant
ones. The joy of the next generation is upon us all.
Not long from now, however, the dark forces of the government
and livestock industry will be upon them. But not without
a fight. As ever, we will stand up against the lies,
with the knowledge that Truth is with the buffalo. As
you read in last week's Update, the supposed "threat"
of brucellosis is just a cunning creation by the powers
that (momentarily) be, to continue their Monopoly game
upon our Mother Earth.
Recent news stories report that the agencies took blood
samples from the nearly 1,000 buffalo they slaughtered.
Test results show that had the blood samples been taken
prior to hasty killing, more than half would still be
alive. Fifty-five percent of the buffalo sent to slaughter
by the National Park Service and Department of Livestock
this year had NO SIGN OF BRUCELLOSIS! Critical information
gained far too late. Tests also showed that 44 percent
tested "positive" for brucellosis. The so-called
positive results are false in that they only detect
the presence of antibodies, not infection. In other
words, they killed healthy buffalo that had developed
immunity to brucellosis. Most were not infectious. Further,
bulls, yearlings, and non-pregnant buffalo pose no risk
of transmission, while pregnant buffalo post only a
*theoretical* risk: to this day, there has never been
a documented case of a wild buffalo transmitting brucellosis
to cattle, even where they coexist. Nearly 1,000 buffalo
lost to the world forever, without warrant, and most
killed by the hands of those who are supposed to protect
If the government and livestock industry were truly
concerned about disease rather than land control and
money, the agencies could have used the convenience
of murdered buffalo to do more accurate culture tests,
which would have shown actual infection. But it's easier
to maintain power by spreading lies, fabricating the
truth and getting that media headline to state 44 percent
tested "positive." The testing process is
set up to benefit only those whose 400-year old mission
has been to rid the land of these wild, gentle beings.
Much like the way the Bush administration sold war based
on "weapons of mass-destruction" that didn't
Meanwhile, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) issued
a press release yesterday saying the elk in the Madison
Valley (the same valley buffalo have been shot or slaughtered
for attempting to reach) probably don't have so much
brucellosis after all. Whoops. They say it's probably
yersinia, a relatively harmless (to wildlife and livestock)
gastrointestinal bacteria that can show up as brucellosis
in their brucellosis testing procedures. Who's to say
that the wild buffalo aren't victims of this as well?
Scientists that know about yersinia and brucellosis
and the testing procedures say this is most likely the
case. But sound science isn't a tool used by government.
Of course, true to government form, an FWP agent claims
the same probably doesn't hold true for Yellowstone
buffalo. As a matter of convenience to carry out their
"economically beneficial" destructive policies
of land control, the government makes up excuses and
formulates their "science" to continue their
agenda, no matter the cost. Wildlife management is an
oxy-moron, with the emphasis on the latter portion of
Not all news is bad news: While the buffalo bring forth
new life, we have been inspired by the action of others
in recent weeks. To the North, the Mohawk Six Nations
are currently standing their ground, defending their
ancestral land against greedy developers. As the days
go by, more and more people come to join their ranks
and the mainstream media can no longer ignore this powerful
rise of the people in defense of the land. We pray that
others over Turtle Island will be inspired by these
brave actions to stand up in solidarity against the
tyrants. The momentum is building. Be it nuclear testing
on sacred land, deforestation, rape of the oceans, or
the persecution of the last wild buffalo - these are
the representatives of what ails the sovereignty of
the land herself; arriving are the fearless, strong
champions who will set her free at last.
It has been said that the buffalo will never give up
on the people. Their endurance over the centuries is
testament to that. Though it may take generations, we
will, likewise, never give up on them.
* BFC Mother's Day Cards - One Week Left to
Wild buffalo babies are being born, wild buffalo moms
celebrated! They need the love and protection of all
buffalo defenders, as the peace they are afforded now
will not be tolerated by the Department of Livestock.
As we approach Mother's Day, help us celebrate (and
protect!) wild buffalo mothers as you celebrate the
nurturing women in your life. Give the gift of a beautiful
hand-crafted Mother's Day card. Orders should be in
by Wednesday, May 3rd, so we can get the cards out to
reach the ones you love in time.
To order visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/mothersday.html.
* Thank You LightHawk & Ray Lee!
As you can imagine, we don't have too much faith in
the National Park Service's buffalo estimates. Nearly
1,000 have been sent to slaughter or gunned down by
management activities, and winter kill has been heavy
this year. Given these combined impacts, what is the
herd size today? It's hard to say; we know it's dangerously
low and we are determined to find out real information
based on our own findings.
On Saturday, BFC representatives Jesse and Seamus went
up on the gracious wings of LightHawk pilot Ray Lee's
plane. LightHawk is the largest and oldest volunteer-based
environmental aviation organization in North America.
Jesse and Seamus joined LightHawk in a fly-over of the
Yellowstone region starting in the currently buffalo-empty
Madison Valley, through Yellowstone National Park, and
some of the surrounding areas. They took lots of video
and photographs of visible buffalo and areas where buffalo
should be. Incredibly telling shots of the Duck Creek
and Stephens Creek buffalo trap reveal the ugly scar
these facilities have on the landscape. With their documentation
and mapping skills we will get a more accurate assessment
of what buffalo still remain. This is a really exciting,
detail-oriented project and we beg your patience as
all the pieces are put together. Soon, we will show
you amazing photos and video footage of the region's
awesome landscape and its giant inhabitants.
We are grateful to LighHawk who, over the years, has
been very supportive of our work and lends their expertise
to efforts to protect the last wild buffalo. Thank you,
LightHawk, for granting us the opportunity to conduct
our own buffalo count and helping us see a bigger picture
with a birds-eye perspective.
To learn more about LighHawk's work visit http://LightHawk.org.
THANK YOU LightHawk and Ray Lee!
* We Drummed for Life & Gained a Buffalo
On Saturday we celebrated Earth Day in Livingston, Montana
with local and regional advocates of the wild buffalo
and grizzly bear. Our dear friend, Monica RavenHeart,
brave and inspiring kindred spirit, put her amazing
energy into creating yet another beautiful and inspirational
event. We gathered and drummed, spoke about the wild,
sharing stories and invoking healing energy and positive
action. Gilbert Walking Bull, a Lakota elder, spoke
to us about the relationship between the buffalo and
the Lakota people; the Buffalo Nation, they are one,
intertwined, where one ends the other begins and visa
versa. Gilbert reminded us that Tatanka, the Lakota
word for buffalo, translates literally into "His
The BFC buffaloon, a gigantic balloon buffalo, made
his huge presence, attracting many to our table. There
were beautiful hand-crafted drums, mother drums, rattles,
tambourines all tuning in to hoof-beat and heartbeat.
Generous door prizes were given away, including a beautiful
hand-made beaded pouch crafted by our friend and Monica's
husband Kevin. At the end of the day, however, BFC got
the best "prize" of all: Monica's son, Gunner,
came home with us to join the Buffalo Field Campaign.
We are honored to have this new Buffalo Warrior with
us. He is already wise beyond his years and a great
photographer, besides! Check out some of Gunner's photos
from the Drumming and some from his first days on patrol
with the last wild buffalo: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/bisonphotogallery3.html
Stay tuned for "Drumming a Sacred Circle for Life
III"! Thank you Monica and Kevin for your brave
and wild hearts, your strong spirits, and the "donation"
of your first born!
* Free BFC T-shirt for Published Letters to
Don't let the mainstream media get away with printing
half truths! Please monitor the news and respond to
articles about wild buffalo, write in their defense,
inform others and set the record straight. The editorial
section is the most widely read part of the newspaper.
Lawmakers pay special attention to the editorial pages
to get a feel for the concerns of their constituents.
Write a Letter to the Editor for the last wild buffalo!
Don't stop with the papers, though! Contact your TV
and radio stations, urging them to show BFC's footage
from the field and conduct interviews so that we can
continue to raise awareness for the buffalo!
Anyone who gets at least one pro-buffalo letter to the
editor published in the paper will receive a free Buffalo
Field Campaign t-shirt (100% organic cotton). Send us
a link or a hard copy (address at the end of this Update)
to your published letter, along with your mailing address
and t-shirt size, and we'll send you a beautiful t-shirt
that says it all: "Let Buffalo Roam!" The
offer holds true for anyone who can set up a radio interview
for BFC or can get a TV station to run our footage.
For tips on writing letters to the editor, as well as
a list of suggested newspapers, please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html
contact Stephany at bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org
* Last Words
"A patriot must be ready to defend his country
against his government"
~ Edward Abbey