* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
As Montana's canned bison hunt continues, the National
Park Service (NPS) began hazing wild buffalo this week.
Near Gardiner, along the Park's northern boundary, the
Yellowstone River is sort of a management dividing line.
On the east side of the river, America's last wild buffalo
are being killed by hunters, while on the west side
of the river, the NPS conducts harassment operations,
running wild buffalo off of the ground they choose to
be on, all in the service of livestock interests.
On Monday a mixed group of 41 buffalo stepped onto land
owned by the Church Universal & Triumphant (CUT)
and were chased back into Yellowstone by Park Rangers
on horseback. As of this writing, those buffalo
are nowhere to be found.
Montana's buffalo "hunt" has taken the lives
of 16 bull buffalo so far. Every buffalo that
has migrated across Yellowstone's boundary has either
been shot by hunters or harassed by Yellowstone Park
Rangers, save for three bulls who remain safe in a West
Yellowstone-area subdivision. This housing area
has certainly seen its share of frustrated hunters and
even more frustrated residents. The hunters have travelled
hundreds of miles to come kill buffalo, yet due to last
year's mass-slaughter and this year's milder weather,
and the fact that wild buffalo are ecologically extinct
outside of Yellowstone National Park, there simply aren't
many buffalo out of the Park for them to kill.
This frustration goes with the territory of participating
in an extermination program of an ecologically extinct
animal. As we've said before, it isn't a hunt,
it's a buffalo extermination program.
Having out of town gunners scoping the neighborhood,
pining over buffalo they are not allowed to kill, trying
to persuade landowners to let them shoot, can be quite
unnerving for the people who live here. The people of
Yellowstone Village live here because they love the
wildlife; they enjoy and welcome wild buffalo in their
Ann Stovall, a life-long resident of this area recently
wrote to us with her thoughts on the hunt:
"As to my feelings about this hunt, this is a poor
excuse of an excuse. Since when is a fair-chase
hunt done by people driving around in their pickups
dragging their snowmobiles and expecting to shoot
a Buffalo? These [gunners] think just because
they got a 'tag' that gives them the right to trespass
and disrupt residents in a subdivision, which, by the
way, doesn't allow hunting in it. MOST of the
people in this area are happy to co-exist with the wildlife
that we have. As for the wannabe hunter (again
what a joke) if they are so dead set on getting a Buffalo,
Ted Turner has 'Blue Light Specials' and they can get
their damn Buffalo. The hunters that I know would
NEVER disrespect the residents or the fact that private
property means just that: PRIVATE. Sorry but nobody
is going to shoot a Buffalo in MY front yard and get
away with it. Also, the Agencies have conditioned
these Buffalo to hate snowmobiles, horses and four-wheelers,
because of the constant chasing they do of them on these
modes of transportation. I wonder, do they inform
their so-called hunter?"
The good people of Yellowstone Village are the lucky
few who have opportunities the rest of us don't yet
have. They get to wake up in the morning to see
a frosty bull buffalo bedded down just outside their
window. And they set a fine example for the rest
of us humans: they know how to co-exist with native
wild buffalo, they respect them and they protect them
fiercely. Imagine a world in which the rest of
Montana took their lead. Imagine a world
where hunters refused to participate in canned hunt
and demanded ecological recovery of wild bison.
Imagine a world where the National Park Service actually
honored the living beings whose symbols they wear on
their badges and used their strong influence to ensure
a future for wild buffalo rather than acting for the
economic interests of the cattle industry. Imagine
a world where buffalo calves are not captured, orphaned
and quarantined, but where landowners and state, federal
and tribal governments work together to protect migration
corridors and re-connect buffalo with their native habitat.
Imagine wild buffalo using these corridors and protected
lands to restore themselves. It can certainly
happen. All we have to do is agree, the rest will
fall into place with just a little effort on our part.
Respect the buffalo, restore the land. The wild
buffalo will show us the way.
* Buffalo Field Campaign Meets with Yellowstone
On Tuesday January 9 Buffalo Field Campaign met with
Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis
and other Park officials to discuss the Park's approach
to bison management and attempt to gain a better understanding
of the factors leading to the slaughter of nearly 1,000
bison in 2006. It was the first ever meeting between
BFC and the Park leadership and, while there were difficult
moments and many points upon which we don't agree, the
meeting helped open communication between us and shed
insight into some of the Park's motives and actions.
We came away from the meeting with the sense that Yellowstone
officials feel trapped between the Park's mission to
protect bison and outside pressure to protect Montana's
livestock industry from the perceived risk of brucellosis
transmission. "The most recurring nightmare
I have," Superintendent Lewis said at one point,
"is a transmission."
BFC doesn't believe it is the proper role of the Park
Service to place the economic interests of the cattle
industry above the wildlife the agency is entrusted,
by the American people, with protecting. We made
this clear during the meeting and reminded Park decision-makers
of their potential to do right by the bison through
their actions, positions, and public statements.
Understanding just how powerful Montana's livestock
industry is, we recognize that the Park finds itself
in a difficult situation. The current Yellowstone
administration feels that it can make more progress
by working cooperatively with the other agencies than
it could by taking a stronger stance for the bison.
This is unfortunate. Whether the agency deserves
it or not, the public inherently trusts the National
Park Service. By remaining quiet in the face of
injustice and continuing to participate in a bison management
scenario that has sent more than 4,000 bison to slaughter
since 1985, the Park leadership is sending a message
to the American people that the profits of a few Montana
ranchers is more important than protecting America's
only continuously wild bison. We know the American
public doesn't feel this way.
We are grateful for the opportunity to discuss these
issues in an open forum and hopeful that we can engage
in future discussions with Superintendent Lewis and
other decision-makers with the power to do right by
the bison. With this in mind, we will be meeting
with Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer at the end
of the month. We will keep you posted.
* Attendance Needed at 1/31 Interagency Bison
Management Open House
On Wednesday, January 31, from 4-8pm in Bozeman, Montana,
you have an opportunity to speak to the state and federal
agencies responsible for the harassment and slaughter
of America's last wild buffalo.
The InterAgency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) partners
include the National Park Service, Montana Department
of Livestock, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, National
Forest Service and USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection
The purpose of the open house is to "provide an
update to the public about IBMP operations, share information
on adaptive management changes to operations under the
IBMP, and discuss potential future changes to the plan."
The agencies plan to discuss the "bison quarantine
feasibility study, remote vaccination, adaptive management
changes to the operating procedures, the Royal Teton
Ranch, and habitat restoration projects."
They also want your input on issues affecting wild bison
such as " hunt expansion, capture facilities, livestock
herd management and fencing, and long-term quarantine."
Please make every effort to attend this open house and
speak out on behalf of the last wild buffalo!
The event will be in Bozeman, Montana at the Hilton
Garden Inn, January 31 from 4-8pm.
Spread the word to save the herd!
* Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied
That heading is part of a favorite quote by a good buffalo
friend, Brock Evans. Brock is an environmental
hero and one of the co-authors of the Endangered Species
Act; he knows what it takes to make change in this political
landscape: endless pressure, endlessly applied.
The last wild buffalo deserve nothing less than that.
Make a steadfast and determined commitment to set them
free! Please do three things for the Yellowstone buffalo
today, speak from your heart and invoke the wisdom of
the wild buffalo:
1. Contact Yellowstone National
Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis
Mail: PO Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Phone: (307) 344-2002
2. Contact Montana Governor Brian
State Capitol, Helena, MT 59620-0801
Phone: 1-406-444-3111 * Fax: 1-406-444 5529 Email: BrianSchweitzer@mt.gov
3. Submit a Letter to the Editor
The editorial section is the most widely read section
of the newspaper. Campaigns have been won using
this medium to right wrongs, share information and raise
For suggested papers, tips and more visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html.
Authors of printed letters will receive a free BFC t-shirt!
with questions or suggestions.
* Send Some BuffaLove this Valentine's Day!
Valentine's Day is on the horizon, and once again BFC
offers you the opportunity to send an original, hand-crafted
card to the special people in your life. Your
parents, grandparents, best friend, sweetheart, favorite
teacher, the grumpy guy next door who obviously needs
extra kindness...our card is appropriate for all relationships.
Added bonus: It lets the recipient(s) know that
you are a person of compassion and good heart, and it
raises funds for BFC, allowing us to continue the important
work of defending America's last free-roaming, wild
Two cards are available. For a $10 contribution,
a 4-1/4" X 5-1/2" bison card (copy of hand-drawn
original); for a $35 contribution, a larger hand-made
photo card featuring Yellowstone bison. Both contain
brief information on BFC and our work, and bear the
sentiment: "A gift has been made in your
honor by _________ for the love of wild bison.
Happy Valentine's Day! 'Nature never did betray
the heart that loved her...' Wordsworth"
Card orders must be received by Saturday February 3;
please order early. We'll time the mailing to
arrive by Valentine's Day.
To order, just click on this link: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807,
specify the donation amount for the type of card you
are ordering, scroll down to "Special Valentine's
Card," select the card you want, then move below
to the "Valentine Info Box" and write the
recipient's name and address as well as how you would
like the card signed. To complete, scroll down
to fill in general and credit card info into the secure
server. If you'd rather pay through the mail, send a
check along with the name and address of your Valentine
to: BFC, PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
* Last Words
"We hear you, fellow-creatures. We know we
are wrecking the world and we are afraid. What
we have unleashed has such momentum now, we don't know
how to turn it around. Don't leave us alone, we
need your help. You need us too for your own survival.
Are there powers there you can share with us?
'I, lichen, work slowly, very slowly. Time is
my friend. This is what I give you: patience
for the long haul and perseverance.'
'It is a dark time. As deep-diving trout I offer
you my fearlessness of the dark.'
'I, lion, give you my roar, the voice to speak out and
'I am caterpillar. The leaves I eat taste bitter
now. But dimly I sense a great change coming.
What I offer you, humans, is my willingness to dissolve
and transform. I do that without knowing what
the end-result will be, so I share with you my courage,
~ Joanna Macy