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Weekly Update from the Field January 24, 2008
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* Update from the Field
* BuffaLove 2008 ~ Valentine's Day Cards Available!
* ALERT! Yellowstone's World Heritage Comments Due Tomorrow!
* Photo of the Week
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
As if trying to survive a Northern Rockies winter wasn't difficult enough, buffalo in both Gardiner and West Yellowstone have had a rough time this week. In West Yellowstone, eight more buffalo were killed in the so-called hunt, bringing the current total to a enormously sad seventy. Meanwhile, hazing has begun near Gardiner.

On Saturday, Gardiner patrols witnessed Yellowstone Park Rangers hazing a mixed group of 76 buffalo that had merely approached the Park's boundary. Because the Park Service has agreed to protect cattle interests instead of the wildlife in their care, the rangers chased them off of their migratory route, deeper into the Park and away from the grass they need to survive the winter. A small group of pronghorn antelope was also caught up in the haze, which unfortunately happens nearly every single haze conducted along this portion of the Park. Yellowstone's only population of pronghorn numbers fewer than 250 animals and is therefore considered a species of special concern. Interesting that the Park would condone and participate in their displacement. During the haze, the pronghorns circled up clockwise around the buffalo, then, seeing the wranglers, they circled back counterclockwise around the front of the group of buffalo and back around until they saw the wranglers again, when they switched directions yet again, half-circled the herd clockwise and then headed up into the surrounding hills. So even in Yellowstone National Park the buffalo don't get to roam, and the pronghorn antelope's play is continuously interrupted by the public employees who are charged with protecting them. The park rangers' haze - better termed harassment - ended in the foothills above a place called Powerline Flats, close to the famous Yellowstone arch. The buffalo will likely soon resume their route to better forage close to or outside of the Park's boundaries, and more harassment by National Park rangers is guaranteed. It could be just a matter of time before the cattle interests of Montana convince the park to start capturing and slaughtering wild buffalo.

In West Yellowstone, blood, snow and ravens contrast on the landscape. There is far too much buffalo blood being spilled here. One by one the bullet drops the buffalo. With every bison that dies, a part of their genetic integrity is lost, their family groups disrupted, calves orphaned, matriarchs with all of their wisdom snuffed out forever. With every buffalo taken, the last wild population is being chipped away. It's too much, too fast, with nothing in it for the buffalo whatsoever. There should be give if there is take, but here on the Yellowstone boundary there is only take. Those who harvest these buffalo have a serious responsibility to help ensure their future. BFC patrols are doing our very best to talk to the hunters we encounter, urging their help in advocating for habitat in Montana and an end to the Interagency Bison Management Plan. But, so far, while we've made some good connections, only death has resulted. Hunters have a very strong voice in Montana and it's time they use it for the buffalo.

Thankfully for the amazing buffalo who are built to handle it, extremely cold temperatures have helped to keep most hunters away for a good stretch of days this week. We had a lot of snowfall early in the weekend, and then Sunday night the sky cleared up and temperatures plummeted. Monday's low was close to -26, and Tuesday's dropped down to -40. This morning was around -20, and the mercury is still below zero in the "heat" of the day. These frigid temperatures are felt just after sunrise, meaning morning patrols are right in it, feeling it, and braving it for the buffalo. The dedication of BFC volunteers is strong and we stand with the buffalo regardless of the weather. The Photo of the Week (see below) is testament to the boundless love that we have for the shaggy giants who still roam the earth. It is crucial that our volunteers are prepared to enter the frequent arctic blasts of this region. Exposure to this kind of cold can mean instant frostbite, or hypothermia, so patrols must have the proper gear or we cannot go out. It is critical that patrols are well-equipped with warm hats, serious mittens, face protection, and the variety of gear that enables us to survive exposure and stand with the buffalo.

Please contact our gear coordinator at gear@buffalofieldcampaign.org / 406-646-0070 or visit BFC's Wish List to see what items you can donate that will help keep volunteers not just warm, but safe and alive in the field
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/wishlist.html. Thank you!

The third and final phase of Montana's hunt began yesterday. The state hunt ends just after sunset February 15. The Salish-Kootenai's buffalo hunt is due to end January 31, and the Nez Perce are just now getting ready for their hunt, which will likely last through March. And when the state hunt ends, the buffalo will suffer other forms of taxpayer-funded-cattle-protection-madness. As we've shared with you, the agencies are threatening to be tough and aggressive on the buffalo this season immediately following the end of the hunt. At a recent Board of Livestock meeting in Helena, Montana, this was again underscored. America's last wild buffalo population is being mistreated and sacrificed for fewer than 300 year-round invasive cattle in Gardiner, and a smattering of summer-pasture cattle (also invasive) in West Yellowstone. It's time to rearrange priorities and get the Park Service, the Forest Service and the MT Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks to protect the ecological integrity of America's native wildlife over livestock profits. Please contact Yellowstone's Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson, and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and urge them to stop the harassment and slaughter before it begins and provide year-round habitat for wild bison in Montana now! Contact them today and every day until the buffalo roam free.

Visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html to
contact them now.

Roam Free,
* BuffaLove 2008 ~ Valentine's Day Cards Available!
Why send candy, flowers, or trinkets when you can send a beautiful Buffalo Valentine? Order now and Buffalo Field Campaign will send a hand-crafted photo Valentine in your name to the person of your choosing. Show your love and protect the buffalo.

For more information and to place an order, visit
Order Now! The deadline is Sunday, February 3.
* ALERT! Yellowstone's World Heritage Comments Due Tomorrow!
Yellowstone National Park is deceiving the world about current threats to the bison within Yellowstone. We need a strong public outcry to force the National Park Service to tell the truth. We do apologize for the last-minute action, but we have provided a sample letter that you can personalize and send to make things quicker and easier for you.

Many thanks for taking action for the last wild buffalo!

TAKE ACTION NOW: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/worldheritage.html
* Photo of the Week
Fearless in the frigid morning air, warmed by their dedication to the cause and essential gear, Jesse and Will (he's the frosty bearded one) brave extreme cold to stand with the buffalo. Photo by Jesse, the Merlyn of BFC.
* Last Words
"The sight of hundreds or thousands of buffalo on the rolling prairie or on a vast expanse of level plains was something few men could forget. Imagine yourself standing on a high ridge, perhaps 200 feet above a grass-covered prairie somewhere in central Kansas one hundred or more years ago. The warm breeze, blowing up from the south, from Indian Territory and from the Staked Plains of Texas, brushes past your face. From your vantage point you can see for nearly fifty miles in any direction. As you turn your head from the southeast to the south and southwest there are buffalo - hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of the shaggy animals. Below the ridge, perhaps half a mile away you can see the individual animals, their brown, almost blackish bodies slowly moving as they graze on the pale green buffalo grass which has almost turned a light brown under the hot August sun. Here and there you can make out a cow with a calf, some nursing, others playing. But as you look farther away the buffalo blend together. A mile or so away you cannot make out the individual animals nor can you see the prairie under their feet. There is only a blanket of dark brown stretching to the cloudless horizon. You know you are seeing buffalo, yet it is an unbelievable sight, one that must be seen to be believed."
- David A. Dary, The Buffalo Book

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