Citizen Blockade Closes Horse Butte Trap for 15 Hours!
On Monday morning, Horse Butte patrols arrived to see
an amazing sight. When they approached the area of the
Horse Butte bison trap, they saw a 40-foot bipod holding
bison advocate, Nathan Drake, up on a platform inside
the trap. Suspended from his platform was a large banner
that read: "I called, I wrote, and no response....
This is my response." It was a beautiful sight,
and by taking this direct action, Nate rendered the
trap inoperable for 15 hours. He was even visited by
a young buffalo, who broke through the police tape surrounding
the trap site. Around 4pm that afternoon, agents arrived
to discover their buffalo trap was closed. Unfortunately,
within about two hours, he was cruelly removed by deputized
Department of Livestock inspectors, Gallatin National
Forest law enforcement officers, and a Gallatin County
Sheriff. He was charged with three misdemeanors: trespassing,
resisting arrest, and obstructing a peace officer. He
was released on $5,000 bail, an enormous amount for
such an action.
Nathan Drake is among our heros. As others have before
him, he felt strongly enough to put his life and freedom
on the line for the buffalo. And he also did this for
each and every one of us who have raised our voices
time and again in protest, going through the channels
of democracy, without being heard.
Here is Nate's statement, his story about why he did
it, and what happened while he was up there.
Footage of Nate's occupation of the trap, and subsequent
removal can be viewed on our home page: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org.
WE LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU, NATE!!!!
* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
It is always so difficult to begin these updates by
telling you more buffalo have been killed, despite all
of our collective efforts to stop the slaughter. Even
despite the direct action taken by Nathan Drake. But
we won't let this dampen our fire. Instead, we will
turn the heat up on the decision-makers responsible,
holding them accountable for these atrocious actions,
and demand the slaughter to stop. We will do this until
they have no choice but to hear us and take appropriate
actions that set the buffalo free. We can't thank you
all enough for being a voice for the last wild buffalo
and for continuing to fight for their freedom.
Keep it up: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
Since February 11, Yellowstone National Park and the
Montana Department of Livestock have slaughtered 505
of America's last wild buffalo. Yellowstone Park Rangers
have captured 607 wild buffalo in the Stephens Creek
bison trap, located inside Yellowstone National Park.
The day after Nate was removed from the bipod, the Department
of Livestock showed spite. They captured 30 buffalo
in the Horse Butte trap, then transported them to the
Duck Creek bison trap, and Wednesday morning they transported
them all to slaughter. You can see video footage of
an interview at Horse Butte with local buffalo advocate,
Ann Stovall, during Nate's occupation, as well as footage
of the DOL's capture here http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org.
All of the captured buffalo are being shipped to slaughter
without even being tested for exposure to brucellosis,
the supposed reason for the mismanagement scheme. But
all the science and logic points directly to this *not*
being about brucellosis at all, but about the grass
and who gets to eat it. The cattle industry is trying
to maintain control over grasslands, so taking beef
off of your menu is another way you can help the buffalo.
Don't give these killers your money!
Hunting has slowed down a bit since we last wrote, though
three buffalo were taken by Nez Perce treaty hunters
in Gardiner this week. Today, an interesting thing happened.
The Nez Perce killed two buffalo on the West side of
the Yellowstone River, outside the state's hunt zone.
They took the buffalo in an area called Beattie Gulch,
National Forest land that dissects the border of Yellowstone
Park and Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT) land.
While they were field dressing the buffalo, they saw
114 buffalo being hazed into the Stephens Creek bison
trap by Park Rangers. They were very upset to see this
happening, and we are hopeful that their witnessing
this incident will encourage them to help us stop the
government and cattle industry from such insane actions.
BFC patrols documented the incident and got some good
interviews with the Nez Perce hunters which we will
have available on the web site by the weekend.
It's a very difficult time for all of us witnessing
this buffalo death, but most importantly, it is difficult
for the buffalo. We suffer with the buffalo, to be sure,
and many volunteers are having a hard time processing
all of this. But the buffalo teach us how to be a strong
family, and so we are able to help each other through
the dark times, so that we can carry on to help the
buffalo. They are strong survivors, as is evidenced
by the fact that they have existed since prehistoric
times. In the face of it all, they persist, resist,
Some of you will recall about three years ago, a Lakota
medicine man came and did a very sacred ceremony with
us for the buffalo. He let us know then that things
would get worse before they get better. We have been
told the same by other Native American Buffalo Culture
voices as well. And we are certainly seeing it happen.
But things WILL get better. This will not go on forever.
And as Rosalie Little Thunder recently said, the pendulum
can only swing so far before it swings back in the other
* BFC's Responds to Lousy "Deal" Proposed
for Bison on CUT Land
Yesterday, Buffalo Field Campaign released a letter
to the Church Universal and Triumphant and Montana Fish,
Wildlife & Parks on a proposed 30-year lease to
allow some captured, tested bison to be on Church lands
from December 1 to April 15 west of the Yellowstone
River from Beattie Gulch, on the Park's northern border,
to Yankee Jim Canyon.
Buffalo Field Campaign has long advocated that wild
bison migrating along the Yellowstone River in the Gardiner
Basin be allowed to range on public lands under U.S.
Forest Service authority, and lands acquired and conserved
under the taxpayer funded $13,000,000 Royal Teton Ranch
land deal agreed to in 1999 with the Church Universal
There is a valid concern that what the public has already
paid for with taxpayer money appropriated by the U.S.
Congress - with no benefit to wild bison despite its
promise to provide a "safe haven for the bison"
- will be paid for again by the public through a multi-million
dollar 30-year lease to remove cattle from Church Universal
and Triumphant lands west of the Yellowstone River.
Buffalo Field Campaign encourages you to contact decision
makers to let them know how you feel about the lack
of accountability and the broken promises made in the
taxpayer funded Royal Teton Ranch land deal.
Senator Max Baucus was instrumental in securing funding
to acquire and conserve wildlife habitat on the Royal
Teton Ranch in the Gardiner Basin, critical winter range
for migrating bison. As long as Church cattle remain,
the National Park Service will capture bison for slaughter
inside Yellowstone National Park at Stephens Creek.
So far this winter 631 bison have been captured and
475 slaughtered by the National Park Service.
Representative Nick J. Rahall, II and Representative
Maurice Hinchey requested the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) to investigate and report on the Interagency
Bison Management Plan, which covers the Royal Teton
Ranch land deal.
The GAO's report is due to be released soon, and the
findings will play an important role in formulating
Congressional legislation to help protect America's
last wild bison herd and its native habitat in Yellowstone.
BFC will soon have a web link up (http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legal/rtr.html)
sharing our letter and additional information you can
use to inform yourself and contact your member of Congress.
Stay tuned and check back over the weekend. Darrell
Geist, BFC habitat coordinator------------------------------
* Thank You Idaho State University!
A special thanks to the staff, facility and students
of the Sho-Ban High School for welcoming Mike Mease
to visit and make a presentation about the Yellowstone
buffalo. Also that night he spoke at Idaho State University
sponsored by Portneuf Valley Audubon Society, Sierra
Club and Student Volunteers for the Environment. An
extra special thanks to David Mead and Mr. Cosgrove.
* Photo of the Week
Nathan Drake occupies and shuts down the Horse Butte
bison trap for 15 hours. Outside the trap is DOL agent
Shane Grube, wondering what to do about this little
wrench in their buffalo killing plans.
* Last Words
We received this in response to Nathan Drake's occupation
of the Horse Butte bison trap - thank you Sea Shepherd!"A
Message of Solidarity from the crew of the Sea Shepherd
ship Steve Irwin off the coast of Antarctica.
From the 33 International volunteers on the Steve Irwin
from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, the U.S.A., Canada,
the Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden and South Africa.
Good work with the buffalo mates.
There is a connection between your efforts to protect
the bison and our efforts down her intervening against
the Japanese whaling fleet. We have the killers shut
down and on the run down here. Good luck and give the
For the whales and for the buffalo.
Captain Paul Watson and the crew of the "Steve