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Weekly Update from the Field April 10, 2008
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* Update from the Field
* Groups Make Two Powerful Emergency Efforts to Stop the Slaughter
* April 15: Releasing of the Buffalo Spirits Ceremony ~ Arvol Looking
* Mother's Day: Handcrafted Cards for the Buffalo's Cause
* Get Your "Let Buffalo Roam" License Plates!
* Photo of the Week
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
It seems that Yellowstone National Park and the MT Department of Livestock are hell bent upon killing every buffalo that attempts to migrate out of Yellowstone's boundaries. The death toll is rising at an alarming rate. Family groups are being obliterated, genetic lines lost forever, orphaned calves being imprisoned for government studies, and all to appease the unwarranted fears and economic interests of the Montana cattle industry. Buffalo are dying with no end in sight, as the shaggy giants press on, following their migratory instincts, walking their land, to find available grass, repeatedly entering the war zone between the boundaries of Yellowstone and Montana. At this rate, we wonder if there will be any buffalo left by the time the agents are done.

Since we last wrote to you 164 more buffalo were captured inside Yellowstone at the Stephens Creek trap and 34 wild buffalo were captured on Monday in the Horse Butte bison trap. Today, according to the DOL, five bulls "walked right in" to the Duck Creek trap. Perhaps there was some fresh hay there to lure them in? All buffalo captured by the DOL will be killed. Currently, the total kill tally is up to 1,527 wild American buffalo lost to the land forever. Ninety-nine calves have been sent to the quarantine research pens.

Every day our patrols are witnessing this. Every day we get the robot-like reports from the government saying more have been shipped to slaughter, more have been captured, more are being held, more are moving out from the park's boundary. But, hey, not to blame the agencies, they are just doing what they're told. "It's in the plan," as they like to say. The reality of reams of paper full of words manifested into action on the landscape is the stuff of which nightmares are made. They are doing what they're told to do by livestock interests; the people have time and again called for an end to the harassment and slaughter but our government refuses to listen.
We just got word from patrols on the north boundary that on the east side of the Yellowstone River, five bull buffalo snuck past the buffalo police and the CUT ranch, walked past two bison quarantine pastures, and further west towards Dome Mountain. They crossed west back over the river and continued on towards Tom Miner Basin were they climbed a steep, mountainous hill, currently untouchable by agents. It is uncertain what the bulls' fate will be. They had successfully dodged the agents' hazing efforts, so we fear they may be shot if the agents can get to them. Here we have, yet again, wild buffalo restoration happening naturally, on the buffalo's terms, only to soon be thwarted by government-backed cattle interests.

In addition to sending truckloads of wild buffalo to slaughter, Yellowstone has begun holding some wild buffalo in the pens at the Stephens Creek bison trap. A few more than 100 will be held until spring green-up occurs. Most of the animals being held in the pens are pregnant females. One calf has already been born. These actions go directly against the government's own so-called science in preventing the spread of brucellosis. Confinement of wild animals is key to disease transmission. Stressing females during pregnancy can awaken dormant illnesses, or can cause the mothers to abort their calves. Only pregnant female bison can *theoretically* transmit brucellosis, a transmission possible only during a very short window of time. But the Park, after all the bad publicity, is trying to pretend to be a good steward and is holding pregnant females in the pens. Is the Park trying to spread brucellosis among the buffalo? Further, the park has been sending untested bulls to slaughter, non-pregnant females, and all other age groups who test positive for antibodies (immune to the disease) and pose a zero threat of transmission. Again, only pregnant buffalo can *theoretically* transmit the disease. It's only a theory because wild bison have never transmitted brucellosis back to cattle.

We should not forget - not let the agencies and industry forget - that brucellosis came from invasive cattle and our wildlife were infected with it through the carelessness of human intervention. Cattle, the invasive species, are being treated as queen of the land, when it is the native wild buffalo who is the true sovereign of the land on this continent. What safeguards are there in place to protect our native flora and fauna from the devastating impacts of cattle and the diseases they bring?

More than one third of the last wild population of American bison has been lost forever in a few short months this winter through hunting, slaughter and quarantine. Natural elements are taking a heavy toll as well; this winter has been pretty severe and the buffalo are extremely skinny. There have already been many winter kills spotted, and more are bound to occur in the coming weeks. We have seen too many orphaned calves who look like their time in this world is short. On Monday, before the 34 were captured, one lone, skinny calf was hazed by a DOL agent in his truck; the agent gave up the chase and the calf is in bad shape, likely not to survive. Locals have tried to help in their own way, but so far the calf is not responding. There is also a beautiful young bull wandering alone, too skinny, perhaps, for survival, and far too young to be without his family group. But buffalo are strong survivors, as they have shown in the past 500 years of European occupation. Exacerbating the senseless government killing, the winter will naturally take it's toll; along the western boundary, starvation foods are stripped clean, providing minimal nutrition but just enough to make a belly feel full. Spring is coming late and snow still obscures much of the landscape here, so exposed ground harboring nutritious spring grasses are still a bit further off. The collective impact to the last wild population is enormous.

There is hope to be found in the steadily growing discontent, a tidal wave of opposition is rippling out further and further and more groups and voices are finally speaking up against the slaughter. Had our collective voices sounded together years ago, we may never have come to see this day. We are grateful for the additional support others are finally lending to the buffalo, we only hope that it's not too little too late. While there are still wild buffalo left, we will never give up. We will continue to take every possible action to draw attention to this madness and we will stop the slaughter and buffalo will roam free again. Like the buffalo, we will carry on with persistence, resistance, and endurance. There are still wild buffalo and the pendulum is about to start swinging back.

Roam Free,
* Groups Make Two Powerful Emergency Efforts to Stop the Slaughter
A collective of environmental, hunting and animal rights groups, along with many local supporters are making two very significant efforts to halt the current slaughter of America's last wild bison.
Today, we filed an emergency rulemaking petition to protect the genetic diversity and viability of the bison of Yellowstone National Park. This petition has been filed with the Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne.

We also call for Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer to stay out of the buffalo's calving grounds on cattle-free Horse Butte.

Please read the joint press releases issued today:
*Emergency rule sought to stop Park Service slaughter of wild bison in Yellowstone National Park

*Bison advocates proposes a way out of needless buffalo slaughter - Call for Governor and buffalo managers to stay out of calving grounds

Many special thanks go to:
Natural Resources Defense Council, Gallatin Wildlife Association, Animal Welfare Institute, Gravelbar, American Buffalo Foundation, Western Watersheds Project, Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Development, Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo, Big Wild Adventures, American Indian Law Alliance, The Humane Society of the U.S., Wildearth Guardians, Karrie Taggart, barb abramo, George Nell and Rosalie Little Thunder.
* April 15: Releasing of the Buffalo Spirits Ceremony ~ Arvol Looking Horse
Please join Buffalo Field Campaign and Seventh Generation Fund's Tatanka Oyate Project in person or in spirit in Yellowstone National Park, on Tuesday, April 15, at noon MST for a special ceremony, Releasing of the Buffalo Spirits." Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th generation carrier of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe will guide us through. All are welcome. If you cannot make it in person, consider gathering with friends or in solitude to offer your own prayers to the buffalo that have been so senselessly killed, and to those who remain. A flyer for distribution, as well as a press release with more information, directions, logding and other important information can be found on our web site at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org.
* Mother's Day Hand Crafted Cards for the Buffalo's Cause ~ Deadline April 25
Nature's antidote to human folly: the advent of a new generation of wild bison. Here in Yellowstone country, we anticipate this beautiful birthing time with hope and renewed commitment to wild buffalo families in spite of the ongoing season of despair. Once again, we offer you, our fellow bison activists, an opportunity to spread the word, save the herd, and invest in the critical work of bison advocacy. Added bonus: you reveal yourself to be a priorities-in-the-right-place human of conscience and compassion! (Mom will be so proudS¹.)

Buffalo Field Campaign invites you to send a handcrafted card to the special woman or women in your life. Our card (4-1/4 in. X 5-1/2 in.) features an endearing mini-print photo of a bison mom and her frisky, orange calf; a brief message about our work; and a sentiment appropriate for mom, grandma, that special, nurturing neighbor...anyone you'd like to honor with a Mother's Day contribution to BFC's work for bison moms and their offspring.

The sentiment reads:
The transfer of ancient wisdom begins here:
A tender lick, a gentle nudge, her reassuring warmthS¹
a refuge of buffalo love.

"That Love is all there is,
Is all we know of Love." --Emily Dickinson

A gift has been made in your honor by _________________ for the future of wild, free-roaming bison. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

For a minimum donation of $15 each (more gladly accepted!), we'll send a 2008 Mother's Day card (timed to arrive by May 11th) to your designated recipient(s). The ordering deadline is Friday, April 25th; please order early!

Here's how: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/mothersday08.html

THANK YOU so much for your strength, love, steadfast support, and unending dedication to freeing the last wild buffalo. Because of you, BFC is able to be here on the front lines with the buffalo, hold the agencies accountable, and let the world know what is happening.
~Buffalo Field Campaign
* Get Your "Let Buffalo Roam" License Plates!
At long last the NEW MONTANA License plate is available at any Montana DMV!
Here is a flyer with the artwork of the new plate and information on getting them. Help us spread the word! If you live in Montana please print up the flyer and put up around your community. Please e-mail mease"at"wildrockies.org if you have done this and let us know what town you covered with the flyer.

Download the flyer here: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/plates/LicensePlateBW.pdf

Out of State help:
Buffalo advocates outside of Montana can acquire sample plates to display on your vehicle or in other visible locations. These plates will only be for show, and cannot legally registered.

For $20 you can get a sample plate with AAA-000 on the plate.
For $30 you can write up to 6 characters of your choice on the plate.

Contact Mike at mease@wildockies.org with questions or send a check for one of the sample plates to License Plates c/o Buffalo Field Campaign, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
* Photo of the Week
Montana Department of Livestock agents capture thirty-four wild buffalo from the cattle-free Horse Butte peninsula. This is a view of the buffalo being forced into the trap as we documented from a near-by tree. Photo by Tyler.
* Last Words
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
~ Upton Sinclair, 1935

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