* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Regardless of the deepening snow, wild buffalo remain
absent outside Yellowstone's western boundary.
Daily recons show no signs of any wild buffalo migrating
out of Yellowstone National Park.
Though we are lonely for the company of buffalo, we
had other wild company come through camp last weekend.
Long-time musician-activist Danny Dolinger and Mike
Rosell (co-founder of Earth First!, the Rainforest Action
Network and the Ruckus Society) spent the night at the
BFC cabin and Danny treated us to a private concert
in the main room. Danny entertained and inspired
us with songs from his new album, "Significant
Gains," his debut album "Rome Wasn't Burnt
in a Day," as well as unique takes on songs by
the likes of Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Cindi Lauper,
and Chis Chandler, and not to ever forget the "Bohemian
Rhapsody" sing-a-long! Danny is a long-time
friend of BFC and a rockin' activist himself.
To hear Danny's music, and to learn more about him,
Thank you Danny & Mike!
On a more somber note, in the Gardiner area, Yellowstone
National Park rangers are busy hazing buffalo on a regular
basis. We fear that the next few weeks could be
very bad for our wild brethren. BFC's Gardiner
camp has been witnessing bison harassment on a very
large scale, as mixed groups of buffalo attempt to make
their annual migration, a migration that is repeatedly
staunched by Park Service employees working to protect
the economic interests of the livestock industry.
On Saturday two groups of buffalo, consisting of approximately
63 animals, were hazed from the north boundary and the
Stephen's Creek area deep into the Park towards Mammoth
Hot Springs where they continued to move farther into
the Park on their own. As they often are, a large
group of 60-70 pronghorn antelope - Yellowstone's only
population - were caught up needlessly in the operation
and made to run during the hardest part of winter.
Today we woke to the sight of about 75 buffalo committing
the unforgivable sin of eating grass on the private
property of the Church Universal & Triumphant (CUT).
These buffalo came down from the direction of the Yellowstone
River across Shooter Flats yesterday and made their
way to CUT property last night in search of winter forage.
They were followed by a smaller group of 22 buffalo
that didn't quite make it out of the Park. For
some reason, the 75 buffalo were only hazed about half
of the distance the Yellowstone rangers normally push
them, leading us to wonder if there has been a change
of thought about the possibility of capture operations
occurring in the near future. It appears that
the Yellowstone Park rangers are conducting what we
call a "token haze," and capture operations
could be imminent.
Yesterday was to be the last day of the Nez Perce bison
hunt, but they have decided to extend it for one more
week. Two more bull buffalo were shot by Nez Perce hunters
in the Eagle Creek area this week, bringing the total
to ten. Eagle Creek is on the other side of the
Yellowstone River from where the Park Service is hazing
wild buffalo. While the Park Service is catering
to Montana's cattle interests, the Nez Perce are trying
to reconnect with their sacred relatives the buffalo.
It is certainly not easy being a wild buffalo in this
country. Buffalo have roamed this land for over 10,000
years, 30-50 million strong. They have kept company
with mastodons, giant sloths and wild horses.
They provided nearly everything for the First Peoples
of this continent. They have survived recent centuries
of massacre and now 3,300 is all that's left of the
thundering herds. Some call this "overpopulation"
while others say it is a "conservation success."
Bison suffer our voracious appetite for the land that
once was theirs from coast to coast while we lock them
inside Yellowstone National Box. We owe the wild
buffalo more than this. Much more. They
are patient beings and the cruelty that has been dealt
to them is shameful; yet still they try to show us the
way. Still they tolerate our presence. Still
they let us get close enough to take that perfect picture.
Still they remain, offering us the chance to finally
do the right thing.
Who will speak for the last wild buffalo?
You and I.
Ken & Stephany
* Government Accountability Office Investigates
Two long-time Congressional champions of wild Yellowstone
bison - Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Rep. Maurice Hinchey
(D-NY) - have asked the U.S. Government Accountability
Office (GAO) to investigate the current Interagency
Bison Management Plan (IBMP), the state-federal agency
plan responsible for the hazing, capture, slaughter
and quarantine of wild Yellowstone bison that attempt
to access native habitat outside the ecologically senseless
boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.
They are also asking the GAO to investigate the 1999
land deal in which American taxpayers spent $13 million
to acquire and conserve habitat for one of the largest
migrations of native ungulates in North America: wild
bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and bighorn
sheep. So far, wild bison have not benefited from
this land deal at all, and continue to be hazed, captured
and slaughtered for even approaching these lands owned
by the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT).
Please read these articles:
GAO to investigate bison management
Bison management under federal investigation
Consider sending a note of thanks to Representatives
Rahall and Hinchey for taking this important initiative
and then contact your own Members of Congress and urge
them to support this investigation and put an end to
the slaughter of America's last wild bison once and
* Tell Yellowstone Not to Capture Wild Buffalo!
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
* Interview with a BFC Volunteer
A college student from Portland, Oregon wanted to interview
a BFC volunteer for a school project. We wanted
to share this with you because it really shows the variety
of people who heed the buffalo's call. Here's
a glimpse of one of BFC's stellar volunteers, Clarence.
He and his buds Will and Broch began their journey in
Maryland, on a sailboat during hurricane season, and
those winds eventually, thankfully, blew them into West
Yellowstone for the Winter. In this interview,
Clarence shares his views on activism and how our personal
actions can transform the status quo.
* Last Words
"And I'm gonna raise my voice and sing out across
Over the desert, into the mountains, out to the shore.
A ghost of a chance is all in the world I need to carry
This message of hope ... across the frontier to your
~ Danny Dolinger, Ghost of a Chance