* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Nearly every day this week, Yellowstone National Park
wranglers have been using our tax dollars to conduct
intensive buffalo hazing operations along the park's
northern boundary near Gardiner. Hundreds of wild
buffalo are being refused access to national forest
land, conservation easement land, and a few miles of
Yellowstone borderland. These lands within
one of North America's largest wildlife migration corridors,
should all be available to wild buffalo as they are
to every other species. Yet in order to protect
the economic interests of Montana's livestock industry,
the Park refuses the buffalo's access and shoos them
away like pests; their natural migration is staunched,
and their well-being placed in serious jeopardy.
The stressful, relentless harassment not only prevents
the buffalo from accessing critical food, it also causes
them to burn energy reserves they cannot afford to spend.
Buffalo are a migratory species; they know when and
where they need to go and have followed these instincts
for thousands of centuries. Wild buffalo are being punished
for being good grazers. Cattle are pampered and
protected for destroying the land, while the country's
last native population of buffalo is harassed and slaughtered
for being ecologically beneficial.
The northern boundary region is an amazingly rich landscape,
teeming with a wide variety of wildlife including elk,
big horn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mule and white tail
deer, coyotes, wolves, brown and black bears, golden
and bald eagles, mountain lions and so much more.
It's so astounding here nestled between these breathtaking
mountains and the lush valley with the Yellowstone river
meandering through it all. This area is home to
so much life and we feel very lucky to be in its midst.
Unfortunately, the hazing operations displace all wildlife.
This week, we documented pronghorn antelope, coyotes,
and even a jackrabbit being displaced by a haze.
The pronghorn, part of the Park's only surviving population--numbering
fewer than 275 individual animals--are repeatedly disturbed
every time there is a buffalo hazing operation.
With mortality rates on the rise, sentiments from Park
employees reveal strong concerns about the future of
this island population.
Clearly, the Park Service's priorities are woefully
out of whack. Yet, thanks to your persistence
and the courageous initiatives of congressional champions,
the Park's actions - and the actions of all agencies
participating in the Interagency Bison Management Plan
- are under serious scrutiny. As we reported last
week, the General Accounting Office is investigating
all aspects of the buffalo management scheme.
We are hopeful that Yellowstone officials, aware that
they already have much to answer for, are refraining
from sending buffalo to slaughter this year because
they are being watched so closely by Congress.
Thank you for keep the pressure on. Don't stop.
It is going to pay off.
Buffalo, no matter how many times pushed back, always
press on in the right direction.
* BFC is Roaming to Washington, DC!
At the request of the Subcommittee on National Parks,
Forests, and Public Lands, Buffalo Field Campaign has
been asked to testify before Congress on the status
of Yellowstone's wild bison herd on our National Forest
lands and in Yellowstone National Park, America's first
national park. Josh Osher and Darrell Geist, both
articulate long-time BFC coordinators, will travel to
Washington, DC and meet with members of Congress and
their staffs during the week of March 19th.
The hearing is scheduled for 10 AM, Tuesday, March 20.
If your House representative is on the Parks Subcomittee
(see link below) it is crucial that you contact them!
BFC will stay in DC, taking the opportunity to visit
with as many members of the House and Senate as possible.
It is a critical time to contact your Congressional
Representatives in support of lasting protection for
America's last wild buffalo.
Thank you for taking action for the last wild buffalo!
For more information contact Josh at bfc-advocate"at"wildrockies.org.
* Nez Perce Buffalo Hunt Ends
On Tuesday, the Nez Perce buffalo hunt ended.
This week, eleven buffalo bulls were taken in the tribe's
hunt, conducted by right under the 1855 Stephens Treaty.
To our knowledge, the Nez Perce shot 22 buffalo.
BFC is fortunate to have a good and growing relationship
with the tribe and individual tribal members.
Nearly all of the Nez Perce hunters we met expressed
frustration with the politics of the current bison management
plan and agree that wild buffalo need room to roam and
that protecting the cattle industry does not justify
the mistreatment of wild buffalo. During their
hunt, the Nez Perce witnessed first-hand the relentless
hazing, some of which interfered with their hunt.
With the Yellowstone bison population estimated at fewer
than 3,500, with the yearly government kill being so
unpredictable, we feel that, Though we feel very
sad for every buffalo that is killed, especially while
they suffer at the hands of the government and cattle
industry, we respect the Nez Perce for bringing themselves
back into the lives of their relatives the buffalo.
Though it may be hard for many of us to see the positive
in the tribal hunt, we have faith that in the long run
the wild buffalo will benefit. The Nez Perce are
reconnecting with a nearly lost way of life, rebuilding
their relationship with the buffalo and strengthening
their people in the process. The tribe has inserted
themselves in a meaningful way and the government can
no longer ignore them. With other tribes expected
to hunt under treaty rights, things will be different
from here on out.
* March 18 ~ Drumming a Sacred Circle for Life!
Good! Good! Good! Good Migrations!
That's the theme of the third 'Drumming a Sacred Circle
for Life,' which will be held on Sunday, March 18th,
from 1:00 - 5:00 at the Livingston Depot Center in Livingston,
Montana. Together we will celebrate the migratory
nature of the buffalo, the whale, the elephant, the
butterfly and the tern.
We will drum the rhythm of migration and awaken the
consciousness of the collective human spirit, making
ourselves ready for the movements of the animals, for
wild buffalo and their right to roam and return to their
There will be a video on animal migration, intensive
drumming, exquisite raffle items, inspiring speakers
and a positive time had by all.
There is a $5.00 minimum donation at the door, two dollars
for young people 12-18, and 11 and under enter free.
Please bring percussion instruments and lots of friends!
Spread the word!
Save the herd!
For more information call 406-333-4098 or 406-646-0070,
or email bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org.
Special, heartfelt thanks and tons of BuffaLove to Monica
RavenHeart for organizing this special event and for
always being a strong, spirit-filled and active voice
for our wild buffalo friends!
* Last Words
"Oh why can't we roam this open country?
Oh why can't we be what we want to be?
We want to be free."
~ Bob Marley, Rebel Music