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Weekly Update from the Field March 1, 2007
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* Update from the Field
* Government Accountability Office Investigates Bison Mis-Management
* Tell Yellowstone Not to Capture Wild Buffalo!
* Interview with a BFC Volunteer
* Last Words

* 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, visit: http://cdbaby.com/cd/dolinger.  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.

Roam Free,
Ken & Stephany
* Government Accountability Office Investigates Bison Mis-Management
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 for all!
* 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
(307) 344-2002
yell_superintendent@nps.gov or
* 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 the prairie
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 door."
~ Danny Dolinger, Ghost of a Chance

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