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Update from the Field June 21, 2007
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* Update From the Field: More Bison Captured

In This Issue:

* Update from the Field
* Buffalo in the News
* Saying "Thank You, For a Real Good Time!"
* Last Words

* Update from the Field

Dear Buffalo Friends,

The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) captured more wild buffalo on Wednesday. A family group of five buffalo, including a young bull, a calf, mom and two other female buffalo who had migrated out of Yellowstone to the Horse Butte Peninsula were hazed (forced and chased) by agents on horseback to the bison trap located near the West Yellowstone Airport. Like the 52 buffalo nearly two weeks ago, they were loaded onto livestock trailers and transported over 150 miles to the Stephens Creek bison trap within Yellowstone National Park's northern boundary. These five buffalo will be held in the trap and later released into the Park.

While Montana and the Park Service pat themselves on the back for not slaughtering, and while we are enormously thankful that no wild buffalo have been killed during these captures (thanks to your action!), the real solutions continue to be ignored. Agencies insist on turning a blind eye to the nature of wild buffalo as they hide behind the Interagency Bison Management Plan, maintaining that its confining boundaries are the only way to 'deal' with bison. Agencies even stubbornly refuse to admit that buffalo migrate. They continue to peg the buffalo as "recalcitrant," "renegade," "stray," and all the other misnomers that are better suited for the family pet or rebellious youth (as BFC's barb so beautifully puts it in her Letter to the Editor "Recalcitrant" posted below). These agencies and the cattle industry simply have a fundamental misunderstanding of what WILD means. Listen to the buffalo, and they will teach you.

There was a time when we humans believed that the Horse Butte Peninsula, being surrounded by water, was a natural barrier that buffalo wouldn't move past. Wild buffalo beautifully corrected this arrogant mistake last year by walking across the ice in the winter, and again and again by swimming across the lake in the spring. There was also a time when it was believed that wild buffalo would contentedly remain within Yellowstone after calving season ended. In all their beauty and wildness, they have again proved us wrong, as they continue to migrate long past the human-contrived time tables.

There is a great yet obvious lesson here: wild buffalo, not humans, know what's best for wild buffalo. It's one of the amazing things about these wonderful beings - every time you think you have them pegged, they do something different. That's what has been happening these past few weeks, with buffalo migrations continuing long past the time when even we expected them to cease. While these movements into Montana so late in the season puts them in danger, we applaud the buffalo with standing ovations. The buffalo are representing themselves better than any scientist, study, or opinion ever could. Much to the chagrin of Montana's cattle industry and all the government agencies involved in their mismanagement, buffalo are being buffalo; roaming, reclaiming their native land as is their natural right. Montana and Yellowstone say this late migration is "unprecedented" but it's just that it's time for the buffalo to let us all know that they will restore themselves, even in the face of severe oppression.
Wild buffalo are not going to stop migrating no matter how many times these agencies insist on hazing, capturing, or slaughtering. These approaches aren't just nefarious, they're ineffectual; bison will move with the seasons, with their will, and with their hooves that were made for walking.

Wild bison are not "park" animals, they are migrating wildlife following instincts thousands of years old. Montana's cattle industry wrongly views Yellowstone as a glorified ranch or zoo and believes that bison should "stay put" and they would like nothing more than to see a huge fence erected around its borders. Preventing bison migration chokes Earth's natural rhythms. Wild, free-roaming buffalo are a blessing, not a curse, to the landscape. These prehistoric beings are an ecologically critical component to healthy grassland ecosystems.

Wild bison know better than any government "plan" what works, and they are trying to get the message through our thick skulls: the real solution is habitat.
Roam Free,


* Buffalo in the News

6/8 - Letter to the Editor: Recalcitrant
West Yellowstone News

6/8 - Bison to be trucked into Yellowstone
Vail Daily - CO (Associated Press article)

6/9 - Park bison to be spared from slaughter
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

6/10 - Emotional animal activists, park officials to blame for bison's fate
Prairie Star (an agriculture/livestock-based publication)

6/12 - Park releases bison from Stephens Creek Capture Facility
AP Story / BFC Myspace posting

6/13 - Bison form 'moving road block' on way to Firehole
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

6/14 - Letter to the Editor: Bison explanation doesn't make sense
Billings Gazette

6/15 - Agency considers new bison quotas
Billings Gazette

6/17 - Letter to the Editor: Stockgrowers group resistant to change
Billings Gazette

* Saying, "Thank You, For a Real Good Time!"

Thank you everyone for an incredible celebration of Buffalo Field Campaign's Ten-Year Anniversary & Family Reunion! What an amazing turnout and time we had together!

After a week of intense field patrols and projects around the cabin, we got to let loose on Saturday, June 9th at West Yellowstone's incredible Union Pacific Dining Hall, where we ate, drank and made merry.

We give special thanks to Seeds of Peace for cooking amazing meals for us throughout the week, and for the incredible dinner at the celebration. You folks are the best!

Many thanks to Odyssey and Three-Legged Dog for making incredible music and giving us a reason to dance! dance! dance! through the dark hours of the night. A nod and a wink to all the late-night jam session players. Thanks John, John, and Wally for joining the bands during the late-night jam session... your raps, fiddle, and sax were amazing contributions!

To everyone who donated auction items - thank you! We had an incredible silent auction with beautiful handcrafted gifts, which barb and Stephanie displayed with great talent. It was hard not to bid on every single item there. A lot of folks walked away with objects of rare beauty. Thank you so much for helping keep Buffalo Field Campaign on the front lines and for creating beautiful art!

To all the BFC volunteers who helped organize and run the event - how can we ever say thank you enough?! Your energy and dedication really shined and none of this would have been possible without your help.

It's hard to say thanks in the way that we should and hard to let everyone know what it meant to us for you to be with us. Those of you who joined in Spirit, we felt your presence. BFC is so grateful to everyone for all of their hard work and strong love over the years and we look forward to the next ten years in which our family will grow and wild buffalo will reclaim Montana.

Buffalo Field Campaign

* Last Words
"We dream of a continent where land is healed, banished species return, and humanity is reconciled with wild Nature."

~ Harvey Locke
From Wild Earth Journal, A Balanced Approach to Sharing North America, Spring 2000


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