Update from the Field
Yesterday started out with an incredible event: Early
in the morning, a group of about 70 buffalo, including
newborns, swam across the narrows of Hebgen Lake from
Horse Butte to a good grassy area near highway 287.
Amazed patrols felt so blessed to witness this incredible
event, admiring the will of the buffalo to go where
and how they must, and the incredible stamina of the
little calves keeping up with the herd. Yet the natural
harmony would be momentary. The peace and tranquility
of the past week was broken yesterday. Department of
Livestock (DOL), Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), U.S.
Forest Service and Gallatin County sheriffs pounded
the region with their cruelty and arrogance in a massive
hazing operation on Yellowstone's western boundary region.
It was an exhausting day. BFC patrols on foot, bikes
and in cars were covering a lot of ground, bearing witness
for the buffalo and the people who love them, documenting
the government's injustice to the last wild herd and
the ecosystem in which they live.
Agents on horseback simultaneously hazed wild buffalo
off of the south side of the Madison River and the Horse
Butte peninsula. Hundreds of buffalo, including delicate
newborn calves and mothers-to-be, were interrupted from
their gentle existence and forced off of their native
ground, back into the human delineated lines of Yellowstone
National Park. On Horse Butte, agents ran buffalo through
a barbed wire fence, where some got tangled and were
injured. They even violated their annual operating plan
with the U.S. Forest Service by hazing buffalo along
the Madison River a quarter mile from open water well
after 3:00 pm. Supposedly, the agents are allowed to
haze only between the hours of 10am and 3pm, a safeguard
put into place to protect bald eagles and their habitat.
Like a Trail of Tears the line of buffalo being forced
to move stretched for what seemed a mile. During the
operation, agents heartlessly separated a newborn calf
from it's mother. The tiny calf was left behind on the
Butte as the mother was hazed for miles back to Yellowstone's
boundary. There's no doubt that if she can, the mother
will come back for her baby. She will be faced with
the challenge of again crossing highway 191, miles of
travel, and ruthless harassment by government agents.
We pray there will be a reunion, or as it is known to
happen, another group may take the baby in.
After the agents finished wreaking havoc in the Horse
Butte and Madison area they continued their assault
and headed for the buffalo along highway 287. The group
that swam across the lake, plus a small group of bulls
were chased down 287, up Duck Creek Road, and pushed
over the boundary of Yellowstone National Park. Agents
then headed towards highway 191 to haze more buffalo.
Some of the buffalo that were pushed into the Park had
already turned around to go back to where they had been.
Likely, the mom of the orphaned calf was one of them.
Every buffalo in sight was a target for persecution,
yet some still managed to escape the government's wrath.
Today, the agents are out again with more attempts to
empty the landscape of a keystone species. This is part
of the livestock industry's "big push" to
get rid of the buffalo before the cattle returns in
mid-June. But the buffalo are the rightful residents
of this land. The land's wild, natural buffalo heritage
deserves greater protection and respect than does the
profit margin of Montana's livestock industry. Even
enduring centuries of great tragedy, the buffalo survive
and persist, proving they are stronger than man's ill
Some good news is that agent activities do not go over
well with area residents or those who come to this beautiful
area to enjoy the solitude and wildness, including the
company of wild buffalo. Unwelcome agents ran buffalo
through campgrounds and trespassed through housing areas.
People were none too pleased and vow to take action.
People's tolerance of agent activity is running very
thin, and these 'cowboys' are running out of time to
play their games; Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer
promises that things will be "different" next
year. Let's hope so. BFC will continue to make sure
the agent's gutless, selfish actions will be shown far
and wide and we depend upon you, our faithful supporters,
to help share the information and images with the people
you know, inspiring action and strengthening the voice
for the last wild buffalo.
* Great Letters to the Editor
The release of an Associated Press (AP) story last week,
falsely stating that 44 percent of wild buffalo slaughtered
by Yellowstone and the Department of Livestock "had"
brucellosis, conjured quite a bit of response. The fact
is, blood tests only detect the presence of antibodies,
not infection. So many of those buffalo testing "positive"
were healthy and immune to the cattle-borne disease.
Check out two fantastic letters to the editor by Montana
wild buffalo advocates who know the truth and challenge
the media to do a little more research and not rely
on agency spin:
"Diseased" not correct term for tested
Brucellosis test shows exposure, not infection
Don't forget: If you have a pro-buffalo letter to the
editor published, we will send you a FREE "Let
Buffalo Roam" organic cotton t-shirt! Just send
a copy of your published letter (by mail or email),
your mailing address and t-shirt size to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org
or the address at the end of this email. For tips and
suggested papers to contact visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html.
The same t-shirt offer holds true if you can coordinate
a radio or television interview for BFC. Write on and
speak out for the last wild buffalo ~ spread the word
to save the herd!
* Buffalo Badge Contest Winners
Currently, the Department of Interior (DOI) and National
Park Service (NPS) don a buffalo on their badge, but
given their harsh treatment of the buffalo in their
care, they simply do not deserve wear this symbol of
gentle freedom, tenacious strength, and powerful spirit.
After going through a slew of fabulous entries, with
much difficulty Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
(PEER) and Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) decided on the
contest winner for replacing the DOI and NPS badge.
Find out who won the contest and what emblem best represent
* In Celebration of Mothers, Wild and Human
Thanks to everyone who supported the work of BFC with
your order of hand-crafted Mother's Day cards! We know
the nurturing women in your life will be so pleased
with these cards, and your purchase goes directly to
the front lines work of BFC. Many thanks to BFC board
member and wild buffalo advocate, Kathleen Stachowski,
for her beautiful work on these cards!
Join us in West Yellowstone, Montana on Mother's Day,
Sunday, May 14th and stand in solidarity with the Last
Wild Bison. Every Spring the buffalo family migrates
out of Yellowstone National Park (YNP) on the western
boundary to their calving grounds, the Horse Butte Peninsula.
These public lands offer fresh spring grasses, southern
exposure and cool lake waters for the buffalo to utilize
during the birthing process. Yet the Montana Department
of Livestock (DOL) will use helicopters, ATV's and horsemen
to terrorize pregnant females, newborns, yearlings...the
whole family unit. In years past, DOL hazing activities
have caused abortions, deaths to pregnant females, injury
and death to newborns...even running less than a week
old calves into the thick mud flats of the Madison River!
Please bring your family and join us on the corner of
Hwy 191 and Rainbow Pt. Rd. We will offer free coffee
and free cookies in hopes to Free the Buffalo! If you
cannot celebrate the Buffalo with us in the field, please
take the time to write personal letters to Montana Governor
Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne
reminding them to honor, respect and cherish the Last
Wild Buffalo! This Mother's Day stand-up for the reproductive
rights of all species! This Mother's Day reclaim what
it is to be Wild and Free!
For the Buffalo,
Justine, Roman and Japhy Sanchez
* Last Words
"I love the land and the buffalo and will not part
~ Satanta, Kiowa