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Weekly Update from the Field April 12, 2007
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* Update from the Field
* NEW! Photo of the Week
* Mark Your Calendars for June 9th!
* Honor Mom with a Gift Dedicated to Wild Bison
* Last Words ~ by Meghan

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
The gentle giants have been on the move, waking the Earth with the footsteps of their annual spring migration. The community's joy in the buffalo's presence evaporates the memory of the long, lonely winter that saw every buffalo who entered Montana on the west side of the Park get shot in Montana's so-called hunt. BFC patrols have been out morning to night, basking in the glory of the buffalo's presence, and also working very hard at warning traffic, facilitating safe passage for the hundreds of buffalo on their way to Horse Butte, their favored calving grounds. Our new highway safety equipment is having a significant positive impact, and all of the crossings are going really well with buffalo making it across the highway safely. BFC patrols continue to work tirelessly - some doing double shifts which stretch 15 hours in the field - to help get buffalo across the road without incident.

Unfortunately, the peaceful flow of the buffalo's migration was broken this week by the Department of Livestock (DOL). The ignorance and arrogance of self-glorified cowboy cops who take pleasure in bullying wild buffalo is disrupting the entire ecosystem, infuriating the community, and posing serious threats to motorists travelling Highway 191.

DOL and other government agents came out on Tuesday and Wednesday, chasing upwards of 500 wild buffalo off of Horse Butte and surrounding National Forest lands. Pregnant cows, yearlings, young adults, and massive bulls were were run very hard by riders representing the DOL, National Park Service, MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the National Forest Service. Agents also hazed buffalo out of the Yellowstone Village neighborhood where they are welcome by residents; agents utterly ignore the wishes of private property owners, disregarding the "Buffalo Safe Zone" signs BFC provides to local residents who want the buffalo around, but not the DOL. Apparently, private property rights only apply to those who let cattle munch on their land - which nobody here does save for a few hobby ranchers who import cattle during summer months.

The massive hazing operation took place despite an agreement signed in November 2006 by all five Interagency Bison Management Plan participants. The agreement is for adaptive changes to the IBMP, and was supposed to allow for greater tolerance of wild buffalo on public lands outside Yellowstone through May 15. Unfortunately, Montana's state vet has the final word, but what's the point in having an agreement if it isn't carried out? The agreement calls for "strategic hazing" which would allow buffalo to be on public land if it is a "low risk" (no cattle) area. There are never cattle on the public lands surrounding Yellowstone's western boundary, and none on private land until summer, so it is difficult to imagine a more "low risk" situation. The agreement also has a provision that allows for more tolerance for bull bison, which was also completely ignored. Agents went out of their way this week to round up all the buffalo they could find and haze them out of Montana, all the way to Yellowstone's boundary. The agents failed to adhere to a single provision of the agreement. When BFC questioned DOL agent Rob Tierney, "head honcho" of western boundary bison harassment, about the terms of the agreement, he acted as if he didn't even know the agreement existed; all components were ignored and the DOL wreaked havoc on the landscape as they are known to do.

Read the IBMP Agreement, a letter from BFC to Montana State Vet Dr. J. Rankin, BFC's press release, photos, and links for taking action: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legal/adaptivemanagement.html.

Certainly, Congress and the Government Accountability Office investigators are going to be very interested in the blatant disregard of the supposed "greater tolerance" agreement.

View exclusive BFC video footage from this week's hazing operations at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org.

Buffalo follow instincts and not politics or man-made borders, so once the agents leave, the buffalo turn back around and resume their migration to Horse Butte. The DOL's activities are a serious threat, not only to buffalo, but to the motorists travelling this stretch of 191. The buffalo will have to cross Highway 191 again and again and BFC will be there to help them.

The cowboy circus is back in town for the spring, and the buffalo are suffering as a result as they do every year. BFC is in the field every day, watching over the buffalo and and documenting every move the agents make against them. And the tides are turning. The pressure is on and the DOL is feeling it, so they strike out with their dwindling power. One day soon, the livestock interests won't have this power. The agents can't keep the buffalo down, and they can't keep them out of Montana. We the people must use endless pressure, endlessly applied, just as the buffalo maintain persistence, resistance, and endurance.

Roam Free,
~Stephany
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* NEW! Photo of the Week
"When they do this... We have to do this!"
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/photooftheweek.html
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* Mark Your Calendars for June 9th!
We are very excited to announce that Buffalo Field Campaign will celebrate our 10-Year Anniversary in West Yellowstone! Please mark your calendars for June 9, 2007 and watch this space for a special announcement next week!
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* Honor Mom with a Gift Dedicated to Wild Bison
Mother's Day. It started out as a simple and sentimental day to honor mothers; now it's one of the most commercially-driven American holidays. But if spending money on stuff--and MORE stuff--is not your idea of a meaningful tribute, consider doing what many BFC supporters have done the past couple of years: make a contribution to BFC. In exchange, we'll send a hand-made card to the recipient(s) of your choice. This year's Mother's Day card, appropriate for all the special women in your life, will greet your recipient with this melodious message: "The music of springtime in Yellowstone -- Rushing water, wind, birdsong. Into Nature's eternal symphony is born the next generation of wild bison. Buffalo Field Campaign is there to work for their future--one of peaceful harmony. A gift has been made in your honor by ___________________. Happy Mother's Day!"

Again, we offer cards at two contribution levels: For a $10 contribution, we'll send a 4-1/4" x 5-1/2" hand-produced and embellished creation; for a $35 contribution, we'll send a larger embellished photo card. Orders will be accepted until Friday, May 4th, but please, order early!

We'll time the mailing to arrive near Mother's Day. Here's how to order:
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 "Mother's Day Card", select the card you want, then move below to the "Mother's Day Info Box" and write the recipient's name and address as well as how you would like the card signed. To complete, scroll down and fill in general and credit card info into the secure server. If you'd rather pay through the mail, send a check or money order (no cash please!) along with the name and address of the card recipient to: BFC, PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.

Our work continues because of your much-appreciated contributions...and what could be more meaningful than honoring mom with a gift dedicated to ensuring a heritage of wild bison? And new for 2007: Father's Day cards! Watch this space for details.

We'd like to send a heartfelt thanks to BFC board member Kathleen Stachowski for hand-crafting these beautiful cards, launching this successful fundraiser, and for all her inspired writing on behalf of the buffalo. Read Kathleen's short piece on Mother's Day at the following link: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/stachowski.html
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* Last Words
"In today's 24/7 news cycle, we can become desensitized to all the problems swirling around us. I had read about the BFC in literature where I work, Patagonia retail. I read the brochures, wished there was more to be done, and turned my attention back to my daily priorities. In the fall of 2006 I was fortunate enough to attend the Patagonia Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference. It was here that I met Stephany, a buffalo lover and activist. Her passion for the Yellowstone bison stoked that slow-burning fire I know is inside me but sometimes forget to tend to. We stayed in touch. The post-holiday months brought reprieve, and I headed to Hebgen Lake in April to experience what the dedicated volunteers for the BFC do every day. To say that their work is impressive is an understatement. Never have I seen such dedication, passion and pure love for a cause. The cabin was bustling with busy people when I arrived, moving in and out, discussing the latest movement of bison out of the park. It was just beginning. The spring plays out its beautiful role in the cycle, and wildlife everywhere are waking up, moving on and, best of all, giving new life. The volunteer coordinators gave me the overview, and soon I was scheduled for an AM patrol. My 5am wake-up call came the next day, breakfast was made and the patrols were out. We headed to Duck Creek Pond, a small body of water teeming with life: Sand Hill cranes, trumpeter swans, Canada geese and goldeneyes. Where were the buffalo? We headed down Hwy 191, cars zipping past, and there they were. I connected with my first group of bison - bulging buffalo bellies ready to give birth and little yearlings from the past spring prancing around their mamas leading them to Horse Butte. We raced up and down the highway putting up the bright BUFFALO AHEAD signs warning cars and 18-wheelers to slow down for risk of hitting the buffalo moving down their migratory path, the path they've known for thousands of years, now marked by a highway with trucks and cars barreling past. I understood the rush that BFC volunteers feel. I finally felt that burn they know moving them to be here for the buffalo. In the three days of patrols, watching over these beautiful bison as they try and live in peace, I witnessed an incredible dedication from the people at BFC. They work for the buffalo from sunup 'till sundown, cook and clean to support one another and always know why they are here - buffalo. I thank them for the work they do and the chance to come and work with them. I encourage anyone who wishes they could do more, or who is simply curious about the Yellowstone buffalo to come and stay in the cabin on Hebgen Lake. You will be fed, chores and work will be given, and you will connect with something far greater than yourself."
Meghan Sural, Patagonia, Inc. & BFC Volunteer


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