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Weekly Update from the Field April 26, 2007
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* Update from the Field
* Help the Buffalo Meet Amy Goodman in NYC this Fall!
* Summer Tabling Opportunities with BFC in Yellowstone!
* Mother's Day is Fast Approaching - Order Buffalo Cards Now!
* Is Brucellosis Such a Threat? Get the Facts
* Photo of the Week
* Last Words

* Update from the Field

Dear Buffalo Friends,

The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) has been hazing Yellowstone buffalo every day this week using horses, all-terrain vehicles, high-powered explosives fired from shotguns, and truly obnoxious cowboy yelling. As I write, another haze is about to begin.

Hazing wild buffalo - chasing them off of their chosen ground, which is otherwise known as harassment and is considered an illegal activity when done to other wild creatures - causes tremendous stress and anxiety to the buffalo. It is also a futile act of arrogance comparable to attempting to stem the ocean tides, walling off the wind, or herding clouds out of the sky. Many of the buffalo being hazed are pregnant, while some have just recently given birth and have small, delicate buffalo babies by their side. Shameful that a wild baby's first steps should be taken fleeing brutal government agents. Certainly these livestock inspectors would never treat their cattle or horses in such a manner.

Most of the week the hazing operations have been conducted by two DOL agents - Cody Peters and Tyler Bond - who have been busy chasing buffalo mainly off of privately-claimed land such as Koelzer's, Stinnet's field and the Munns' Ranch - land immediately adjacent to public land, in the heart of buffalo migration routes and calving grounds. The two DOL agents have had a hard time trying to control the movements of our wild brethren, and if it wasn't so tragic, this week's events might seem comical. But, there is nothing funny about it. Day after day the agents hound the buffalo, and day after day the buffalo return. When it is time for them to go elsewhere, the buffalo will do so on their own without the "help" of impatient cowboys.

BFC and you, the buffalo's faithful friends, have been putting strong pressure on the agencies to adhere to the recent Agreement they all signed, which calls for allowing wild buffalo to be on public land through May 15. Respecting this agreement is the very least the agencies can do. It seems that some of our pressure paid off a bit, since, until today, no other agencies besides the DOL were involved in hazing operations since last Wednesday and, for the most part, buffalo on public lands have been left in peace. Yet this morning, our field patrols reported that National Park Service wranglers helped the DOL livestock inspectors haze buffalo off private land onto public lands, and hazed some buffalo on public land further onto public lands. Sound like a circus? It is. At least Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks hasn't participated in this week's operations.

Read the agreement here: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legal/adaptivemanagement.html

The reduction in hazing buffalo off of public lands back into Yellowstone has alleviated the pressures of the massive creatures having to cross the highway numerous times. The roads have not been empty of buffalo, but they have quieted down a lot. It makes us wonder how many buffalo lives could have been saved if the agents would have listened to our common-sense warnings over the past ten years. Over the weekend BFC patrols were helping some large groups of buffalo cross the road, and wouldn't you know it, Hal Harper, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's chief policy advisor, arrived on the scene. He stopped by to talk with Mike while he witnessed first hand the adverse impacts DOL hazing operations cause along the roadside. He was thankful for our presence, and we can only guess that he recognizes the dangers DOL hazing operations cause to both bison and motorists, as well as the wonders that buffalo migration invoke in visitors and residents of West Yellowstone. Perhaps the state will begin to take some responsibility for the DOL's actions, and also start the process to creating safe passage highway projects.

To a wild buffalo, the earth has no borders. Land ownership is meaningless. Public land or private land makes no difference. Wild buffalo - and all species outside of humans - make no distinctions between the boundaries man has created, "nor do the wind, or the sun, or the rain." These are the lands the buffalo have walked for a thousand centuries; the buffalo are as much a part of the land as the grass and the air. It is the human who must learn to accept that the lines in the sand are arbitrary creations (destructions?); meaningless to these ancient beings. If we choose to inhabit the spaces where wild creatures roam, we must accept that we are sharing their home and learn to live in peace with them. Coexistence is the key.

Roam Free,

~Stephany

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* Help the Buffalo meet Amy Goodman in NYC this Fall!

Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) board members, Justine and Román along with their son Japhy Sanchez have the unique opportunity to have dinner with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Airing on Pacifica Network radio stations as well as dish satellite TV stations around the globe, Amy Goodman's news hour is THE source for true information and honest reporting. The Sanchez clan will travel to New York City in September and meet with Amy for dinner and then attend a recording of the show at the Fire House Studio downtown. The purpose of their time with Amy is to specifically talk about the buffalo and put the last wild bison on her radar. The cost of this opportunity is $1000, all of which Amy has donated to Boulder, Colorado's independent radio station, KGNU. KGNU has long been a strong supporter of the BFC, hosting many interviews with the Sanchez' to bring the buffalo's story to Boulder, Denver, Ft. Collins and beyond. So far, we have raised $700…yet we still need your help! All donations are tax deductible, made to BFC and will be used for all aspects of this rare media opportunity.

Please make a donation today and specify that your offering is made towards taking the buffalo to NYC and Democracy Now! Send your donations to BFC, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, or make a secure online donation https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807.

Learn more about Democracy Now at http://democracynow.org.

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* Summer Tabling Opportunities with BFC in Yellowstone!

Buffalo Field Campaign has volunteer positions open for summer tablers in Yellowstone National Park from June 1 - September 5, 2007. We are looking for 3-4 dedicated people who are well-versed on the buffalo issue and enjoy talking to others about these beautiful, magnificent creatures. You can help tell the buffalo's story and inspire action from the millions who visit Yellowstone.

If you have been wanting to experience the beauty of the Yellowstone ecosystem and speak out for the last wild buffalo, we want to hear from you! Applicants should be hardworking, knowledgeable, outgoing, friendly folks who are comfortable camping for up to five days at a time (in the park - what a dream!) A minimum commitment of one month is required.

Interested? Contact Stephanie Munce at buffaloatwildrockies.org or call 406-646-0070.

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* Mother's Day is Fast Approaching - Order Buffalo Cards Now!

Beautiful hand-crafted Mother's Day cards, which honor mothers both human and wild, are available through Friday, May 4th. Please honor your mother with a gift dedicated to wild buffalo!

http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/momcelebration2007.html

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* Is Brucellosis Such a Threat? Get the Facts

As many of you know, the purported reason the government and livestock interests claim for harassing, killing and quarantining wild Yellowstone buffalo that enter Montana is brucellosis. Brucellosis is a disease introduced to North American wildlife by European cattle. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis back to cattle. Cattle have also infected elk and other wildlife species with brucellosis, yet they are free to roam as wildlife should be. Why, then, are buffalo singled out? The reason is centuries old. BFC maintains that the war against wild bison is the same as it ever was: in part, the cattle industry wants to control the land; this is about the grass and who gets to eat it.

Please read BFC's fact sheet about brucellosis. http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/factsheets/brucellosisfacts.html.

Something to think about: there are public herds of bison in the U.S. that are free of brucellosis, yet even these bison are confined and prevented from playing their ecological role. They are fenced in and heavily managed. Since they are brucellosis-free, why don't the fences come down? The more one learns, the more it is quite clear that brucellosis is being politically manipulated and used as a scare tactic to help the livestock industry maintain a stronghold on our public lands.

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* Photo of the Week

"The Way it Should be" by Monica RavenHeart
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/photooftheweek.html

A bull buffalo grazes near the top of Horse Butte, the buffalo's chosen calving grounds. The placid waters below the bull is the Madison River, flowing west into Hebgen Lake. Down below the bull, along the bluffs near the beach, you can see a group of buffalo enjoying their day. Indeed, this IS the way it should be.

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* Last Words

"I forced a smile, remembering Smith's contention that cows struck him as a poor substitute for buffalo. That was after my father told us the story of being treed by a herd of buffalo so vast he at first thought it the shadow of a storm in which the thunder was emerging from the earth."

~ Jim Harrison, "The Road Home"

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