Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Things remain quiet here along Yellowstone's western
boundary. Not a single buffalo has stepped foot
into Montana in weeks. BFC volunteers are conducting
daily recons, monitoring the buffalo's movements inside
the park, but none are to be found outside of Yellowstone's
western boundary, or even close to it. In a selfish
way it's good because there's no buffalo for the Department
of Livestock to bully or kill. And, because of
their absence, many survived Montana's "hunt."
Yet we feel guilty for this strange relief, because
we all know that a land without bison is, like an ocean
without whales, incomplete. We feel a strong
sense of loneliness without our giant shaggy friends
around but we are thankful that they are able to live
in peace for the time being.
Near Gardiner, Yellowstone's northern boundary has been
less quiet. Along the west side of the Yellowstone River,
mixed groups of buffalo are on the move, attempting
to migrate in search of critical forage. The National
Park Service checks their every move, not allowing them
to approach the park boundary, not allowing them to
find food, not allowing them to maintain the ecological
integrity of the land. On Tuesday, NPS Rangers
hazed a mixed group of about 30 buffalo deeper into
the Park, and this morning 90 buffalo were pushed off
of their chosen ground, forced back to grasslands where
they have already fed. None had even left the park boundary.
While relentless hazing occurs on one side of the Yellowstone
River, the Nez Perce are across the river hunting under
treaty right, and will continue their buffalo season
through the end of February. Yesterday, Nez Perce hunters
killed two more bull bison, bringing their bison kill
to 8. While the tribe may harvest up to 70 buffalo,
it seems that buffalo in that area are less in agreement
with those numbers and are laying low. Tensions
are beginning to rise as the Nez Perce glance across
the river and witness first hand the last wild buffalo
being harassed by the National Park Service to appease
cattle interests. Nez Perce tribal member James
Holt talks about his tribe's relationship with bison,
the current hunt, and the government mismanagement of
bison in this
Hazing, shooting, capture, quarantine, slaughter:
these are the nefarious techniques used to "manage"
wild buffalo. Always mistreatment and death to
the wild buffalo. Where are those who will lift
a hand to HELP them? Where is the respect for
the free-living buffalo? Today, a group of BFC
volunteers has joined with some local hunters in Helena,
Montana's capitol, to advocate for wild bison habitat
and their right to migrate into Montana. That's
the most sensible thing anyone who cares about wild
buffalo could be doing, and we urge you to join in this
effort. There are fewer than 3,300 wild bison
left in the United States, all senselessly confined
to Yellowstone or immediately killed once they step
foot outside. Please keep the pressure on the decision-makers
involved and demand an end to the persecution of the
last wild buffalo.
* Take Action for Wild Buffalo!
Please contact the following Montana decision-makers,
and in your own words, insist that they: pull
out of the Interagency Bison Management Plan now; design
and implement a Montana Bison Management Plan that respects
the wild integrity of bison, establishes and conserves
a state-wide, year-round resident bison herd; listen
to their constituents and stop caving in to cattle interests.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Attn: Pat Flowers, Supervisor Region 3
1400 S. 19th Street
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
Helena, MT 59620-0801
DON'T STOP THERE - CONTACT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK!
Yellowstone National Park rangers have been hazing wild
buffalo along the northern boundary on a regular basis
for weeks now, and it's just a matter of time before
they begin to trap, slaughter and quarantine. Yellowstone/NPS
is a lead agency signed on to the Interagency Bison
Management Plan, a plan designed to "protect"
Montana's cattle industry while "allowing"
for the conservation of wild bison. We think it
should be the other way around. Please demand
that Yellowstone PROTECT wild bison and use their influence
to create solutions that give priority to native wildlife.
Yellowstone National Park
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
* Buffalo in the News
Letter: Activists, governor earn hunter's
(Also appeared in: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Helena
NOTE: While BFC appreciates this letter, we strongly
reject the notion of Montana's "courage" in
initiating a bison hunt while wild bison remain ecologically
extinct and without habitat outside Yellowstone National
Montana wary of Nez Perce hunting
Letter: Buffalo hunting is better than
NOTE: We sincerely appreciate this letter but
remind readers that bison hunting is in addition to
hazing, capture, slaughter and quarantine; not in place
Center for Biological Diversity Press Release
"Federal Government Lowers Cost of Public-Lands
Grazing for Livestock Owners: Cost Rises for Taxpayers
(and, we would add, wildlife)
Letter: Double Standards
WRITE ON FOR THE BUFFALO and win a free "Let Buffalo
Roam" t-shirt! Please help tell the buffalo's story
by writing to your favorite local, regional and national
media. A suggested list of newspapers, writing tips
and contact information can be found at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html.
When your letter is printed, please mail or email us
a copy of your letter, your mailing address and t-shirt
size, using the contact info in this Update. Thank you!
* Last Words
Give us hearts to understand
Never take from creation's beauty more than we give,
Never to destroy want only for the furtherance of greed,
Never to deny to give our hands for the building of
Never to take from her what we cannot use.
Give us hearts to understand
That to destroy earth's music is to create confusion,
That to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty,
That to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a
house of stench,
That as we care for her she will care for us.
Give us hearts to understand
We have forgotten who we are.
We have sought only our own security.
We have exploited simply for our own ends.
We have distorted our knowledge.
We have abused our power.
Whose dry lands thirst,
Help us to find the way to refresh your lands.
Whose waters are choked with debris and pollution,
Help us to find the way to cleanse your waters.
Whose beautiful earth grows ugly with misuse,
Help us to find the way to restore beauty to your handiwork.
whose creatures are being destroyed,
Help us to find a way to replenish them,
whose gifts to us are being lost in selfishness and
Help us to find the way to restore our humanity.
~ Anonymous Native American Prayer