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Weekly Update from the Field June 29, 2006
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* Update from the Field ~ Bulls Hazed, Babies Slaughtered,
Hunt Expanded, Habitat Possibilities
* Summer Tablers Needed! Speak for the Buffalo in Yellowstone
* Bring BFC to Your Community! West & East Coast Road Shows Forming!
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Since we last wrote, much has happened. While Summer months do bring a respite from the daily persecution of wild buffalo, state and federal agencies continue their dark work harassing, domesticating, killing, and planning more harm to America's last wild buffalo.

~ Bulls Hazed: Welcome to Montana (Unless You're a Buffalo)
A few bull buffalo have had the "audacity" to remain in Montana, on their chosen ground, outside Yellowstone's western boundaries. The MT Department of Livestock (DOL) agents, of course, cannot tolerate this display of free will. They must remind the buffalo who's in charge and where their place is, regardless of the fact that bull bison cannot transmit brucellosis and pose no threat to livestock. So, more of your federal tax dollars continue to be wasted to harass wild buffalo, forcing them off of their native land for no justifiable reason.

~ Quarantine Kills: Baby Buffalo Sent to Slaughter
On June 19, forty-eight yearling buffalo were sent to slaughter, half of those who've been confined at the Corwin Springs quarantine facility. This slaughter brings the '05-'06 death toll to 1,011 wild buffalo.
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/press0506/pressreleases0506/061906.html. It wasn't that these babies had brucellosis, no, this is all part of the experimental study being conducted by U.S.D.A. Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP). These baby buffalo were slaughtered in the name of Science. Babies from the last wild herd were stolen from the wild so scientists can dissect them, study their tissues, and destroy life to "create" a disease-free herd. This is part the government's "bison restoration" efforts. Quarantine is twisted, sinister and fully funded with your tax dollars. This is also more blood on Yellowstone's hands; the majority of these babies were handed over to APHIS and FWP by the National Park Service (others were handed over by the DOL). Their families were all sent to slaughter before they were ever tested for brucellosis, yet the agencies continue to insist that this persecution is about brucellosis. What this is is genocide. The ultimate message is that livestock has priority over wildlife. The government tries to disguise quarantine as an effort to "restore" bison to the American landscape, yet we see wild bison trying to restore themselves all the time and the government keeps trying to stop it. So they come up with a plan that gives them control and they use words like "restoration" to try to sell it to the public. Make no mistake about it, quarantine kills, domesticates, destroys wildness, shatters family units, and makes a mockery of the mighty bison and what it means to be wild and free. The worst part is, despite overwhelming citizen opposition, APHIS and FWP have approved Phase II & III of their quarantine feasibility study. A keyword here is "feasible" they are simply destroying the last wild buffalo to conduct an experiment to see if it's even possible to do this on a much larger scale in the future. Approval of the other phases means there will be more capture and slaughter in the future. Quarantine must be vocally opposed. It mirrors the U.S. Government's efforts to "assimilate" the Indian people, forcing families onto reservations or killing them outright, and sending the young to boarding schools to "kill the Indian," forcing them to conform to "civilized" society.

*TAKE ACTION! We're sure you're as angry about this as we are, so please make your voice heard for the wild buffalo! Contact APHIS and FWP to let them know you strongly oppose their plans and actions http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html.

~ Bison Hunt Expanded: FWP Commission Approves 100 Permits, Comments Needed
On June 8, the MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission met to discuss plans for an expanded bison hunt. BFC was present to voice opposition and made strong arguments against this hunt. Many of you sent in comments to FWP also stating your opposition. We maintain that a hunt is unethical and unthinkable while wild bison are ecologically extinct in Montana, treated as vermin, managed by the state's livestock agency, and persecuted for stepping foot onto Montana soil.

Unfortunately, FWP has it backwards and thinks that a hunt will create a constituency for wild bison in Montana. So, regardless of common sense and public sentiment, the FWP Commission approved doubling the hunt from 50 to 100 permits, and also plans to issue cow- or calf-specific tags along with either sex tags. As it stands now, FWP intends to issue 30 permits for the Gardiner area and 70 permits for the West Yellowstone area. The hunt is set to begin November 15, 2006 and last through February 15, 2007. There are no plans to expand bison habitat. The Department of Livestock (DOL) maintains authority over the hunt, meaning they can cancel it anytime to conduct hazing, capture, and slaughter operations. The expanded hunt is not yet final and FWP is accepting public comments through July 14, 2006. Final bison hunt regulations will be adopted on August 3, 2006, at an FWP Commission meeting to be held in Missoula, MT.

* TAKE ACTION! Please send in your comments opposing this hunt to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), Wildlife Division, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. You can also email them to fwpwld@mt.gov. For more information on why this hunt is a bad idea and talking points to help you with your comments visit
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/update0506/052506.html.

Attn: HUNTERS! Do not be used as a tool in the DOL's bison eradication toolbox! Your voice can send a very powerful message to FWP that a hunt is not acceptable until wild bison are respected as wildlife and allowed to fully recover and naturally restore themselves throughout Montana. Tell FWP you oppose a bison hunt until buffalo are wild and free in Montana and the DOL is completely stripped of bison management authority.

~ Habitat Possibilities: Governor Schweitzer Needs Some Words of Encouragement
Facing incredible odds, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is doing what no other Montana governor has ever done: he is moving forward with efforts to purchase cattle grazing leases along Yellowstone's northern and western boundaries, which translates into more tolerance (habitat) for wild buffalo in the immediate areas outside the Park. Of course, true to form, Montana's cattle industry is busy crying "wolf!" trying to thwart the Governor's commendable efforts. The Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Farm Bureau want to maintain their power and Montana's zero-tolerance policy against wild bison at any cost. While the governor's plans are not the final nor perfect solution, they are a very significant step in the right direction. Governor Schweitzer is also leading efforts in the state to restore Montana's landscape. At the first Governor's Restoration Forum, BFC was able to be a voice for wild buffalo and let it be known that restoration of native grasslands must come with the restoration of native grass-eaters, too! We were successful in getting "expanding bison habitat" into the final document developed during break-out sessions. This document will be used as a foundation for moving forward. We must lend support and give credit where it is due, and right now Governor Schweitzer needs to hear words of encouragement from all of us.

* TAKE ACTION! Please contact Governor Schweitzer and let him know he's on the right track in trying to purchase grazing leases along Yellowstone's northern and western boundary. Applaud his efforts to offer native wild buffalo real tolerance in areas of Montana, while protecting Montana's prized brucellosis-free status. Let him know that this is a great first-step and that restoring Montana must include native wild bison. Call him at 406-444-3111 or email him at governor@mt.gov.

Through it all, the buffalo are as ever the greatest teachers and strongest survivors. With all they have suffered, they maintain their dignity and majesty and their ancient ways and they ask only that we see the land is to be shared by all species. Through their examples of patience, persistence, resistance, endurance, and non-violence, they lend us the inspiration that guides us on our ever-challenging journey of working in their defense. The buffalo lend us their ancient wisdom, enabling us to maintain our strength, nourish our family, stand our ground, be free and courageous in the face of oppression. It is through their eyes that we attempt to see, to become more like them. The buffalo know that no matter what side of the fence you are on, it is the shared Earth under our feet that connects us all. Temporary are the man-made lines cutting up the path worn by their ancient hoof steps. May the land and our senses once again feel the awesome earth quake as the vast herds thunder by freely.
Roam Free,
~Stephany
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* Summer Tablers Needed! Speak for the Buffalo in Yellowstone
The two bears, one black and the other 'cinnamon', grazed peacefully by the side of the road, seemingly oblivious to the long line of tourists that had left their cars to snap a few quick pictures.

This was my first 'bear jam', and also my first time seeing bears in the wild. While part of me wishes that this had happened somewhere far from roads and tourists, I was nonetheless awed by the experience.

A few minutes later, as we approached the Tower General Store, where we set up our information table every day, we passed a third bear walking slowly towards the river.

And if that weren't enough, an hour later as I sat in front of the store enjoying the sunshine, a mother bear and two cubs appeared on the hill across the road.

When it comes to seeing wildlife, Yellowstone National Park never disappoints. Bison, elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bears, wolves, bald eagles; if one spends enough time in Yellowstone they'll get to see all of these animals, some in great numbers.

Where Yellowstone does disappoint, however, is in their management of this wildlife. That's what we spend our time addressing here at Buffalo Field Campaign.

I've spent some time in the past going door-to-door discussing issues that were close to my heart. I've sent hundreds of letters and emails, worked on newsletters, marched in rallies and protests, wrote letters to editors and talked to whoever would listen about the things I care about.
One of the most amazing experiences I've had doing outreach has been speaking for the buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. To think that I could visit such a magnificent place, get in for free, camp for free, and get to spend time talking with the public about an issue that is extremely close to my heart; the mistreatment of the beautiful buffalo that call this area home. I am blessed.

As I sit typing this update, I am listening to the MDOL and FWP haze one bull buffalo back into the park. It is late June and the buffalo are still out there, asserting their right to roam on National Forest Lands. The Department of Livestock is relentless in its harassment, but so are we relentless in our vigilance. Despite our lack of volunteers, we have a patrol in the field to document this atrocity. The rest of our volunteers are in the park, sitting at the Tower General Store, enjoying the sunshine and spreading the word.

There is still opportunity to come out here and help us do what we do while enjoying the wonders of the world's first National Park. Our goal is to be at that table every day during the summer, reaching as many people as we possibly can. If you can spare some time to join us in one of the most beautiful places in the world, you'll have the best all expenses paid working vacation of your life. Contact Kalanu or Stephanie at 406-646-0070 or buffaloatwildrockies.org.
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* Bring BFC to Your Community! West & East Coast Road Shows Forming!
It's nearing that time of year again! BFC is preparing to hit the road and bring the buffalo's story to your community! Our annual West Coast Road Show will kick off at the end of August, and the East Coast Road Show is set to begin in October.

The Road Shows have proven to be an invaluable means of outreach and fundraising. We continuously meet beautiful people who are just learning about the issue for the first time, they become inspired and empowered and add to the growing family of wild buffalo advocates. We are graced each season by numerous volunteers who attended presentations or spoke with us during these important journeys. We also get to see old friends and strengthen the ties that keep our buffalo family strong. Help us keep this momentum growing! Please let us know if you would like to bring BFC to your community. While the West Coast schedule is already fairly full, we are still booking East Coast dates. If you can help set up a presentation or know of events where we can set up an info and advocacy table, please let us know. Farmer's Markets, festivals, coffee shops, libraries, community events, colleges, and more are all possible outlets for sharing our work to save the last wild buffalo. As we finalize dates and locations we'll post them on our web site. There will be exiting buffalo friends accompanying BFC this year, making it an unforgettable road show season that we can't wait to share with you!

West Coast Road Show contact Mike Mease at mease"at"wildrockies.org or call 406-646-0070.
East Coast Road Show contact Dan Brister or Stephany Seay at dan"at"wildrockies.org or bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org or call 406-726-5555.

For the Buffalo,
~BFC
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* Last Words
"The political system is absolutely in tune with the demands of the livestock
industry and is determined to do nothing that will offend or upset the
industry, no matter how many laws and principles of wildlife conservation
are broken."
~ Robert Hoskins, Wildlife Advocate

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