Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
When the U.S. Government Accountability Office released
it's report "Yellowstone Bison Interagency Plan
(IBMP) and Agencies' Management Need Improvement to
Better Address Bison-Cattle Brucellosis Controversy"
in March, it rightfully criticized the cooperating agencies
for their lack of goals, objectives, and transparency,
among other things. As a result, the IBMP partners scheduled
a series of seven public meetings in Montana between
August and December. These meetings are the agencies'
response to the well-deserved criticisms made by the
GAO report. The first round of meetings began yesterday,
August 6, and will continue through today. In the face
of years of adverse reactions from the public towards
the IBMP, and in the aftermath of the largest wild bison
slaughter since the 1800s, the agencies are setting
aside a whopping 30 minutes to members of the public,
allotting each person a mere 2 minutes to speak.
According to BFC's habitat coordinator, Darrell Geist,
who is in attendance, "The meeting process had
its faults: the public could not pose questions to the
presenters about what they were presenting on; and the
handouts the agencies had were for themselves and not
the public, though they said this would go up on the
web site they are working on. One bison advocate made
a good point that most of the best ideas come from the
public, while other bison advocates, including Gallatin
Wildlife Association and Natural Resource and Defense
Council representatives did a very good job of covering
the flaws, shaming the agencies, and raising their passions
for wild buffalo."
In other news, the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Commission approved the exact same bison hunt as they
held last year. This makes no sense as there was a record
slaughter of bison, and according to Yellowstone's own
estimates, barely 2,000 wild bison are even left. And
still, wild bison have zero habitat outside of Yellowstone's
boundaries, and they are still being mismanaged by the
Montana Department of Livestock. There shouldn't be
a hunt at all, but FWP intends to move right along as
if nothing ever happened. They will issue 44 tags, and
should 60 or more buffalo be on the landscape at the
same time, they will issue up to 100 more tags. It is
expected that the Nez Perce and Salsish-Kootenai tribes
will hunt under treaty right again this season, with
the same numbers being split between the two tribes.
The Montana Department of Livestock has killed again!
Three bull bison have been shot by members of the DOL.
Two bulls were confirmed shot by DOL agents about five
miles from Yellowstone's western boundary, and another
buffalo was reportedly shot in Idaho, near Targhee Pass.
This past week, the regional media has been touting
the Bison Quarantine Feasibility Study as a "restoration"
project, making it sound like orphaning calves, penning
them up like livestock, feeding them hay, ear tagging
them, handling them like cattle, killing off some 'specimens'
for scientific study, teaching them how to be "wild,"
and placing them on landscapes of human choosing is
going to save the day for the American Bison. Some of
the scientists working on the quarantine plan are even
being touted as "bison advocates." No, this
so-called quarantine plan is not doing wild buffalo
any favors, it is anything but "restoration"
and those involved cannot be called "advocates"
of wild bison. Real bison advocates know that restoration
would happen naturally. The cattle industry and government
just keep getting in the way. Check out this AP story
about the quarantine project.
In the face of it all, what are we to do for the mighty
bison? In addition to Boycotting beef, you can start
by contacting your Senators and Representative now and
urging them to take a stand for the last wild bison
population in the U.S.! They can make the difference,
but they need to hear from you in order to act. Clearly,
the IBMP agencies are choosing to ignore the public
and carry on with their Draconian plans, wasting U.S.
tax dollars and the lives of the sacred buffalo. Encourage
your House and Senate members to look into the GAO report
findings and work with their colleagues to develop legislation
that will scrap the IBMP, make critical habitat outside
Yellowstone's boundaries available to wild bison, bring
the Native American voice to the decision-making table,
and protect this unlisted yet endangered sacred species
from more death and harassment as carried out under
the senseless, wasteful and cruel IBMP, which sanctions
hazing, capture, slaughter, hunting, quarantine and
all the various forms of maltreatment towards the last
population of wild American bison.
Write your Senators
Write your Representative
the GAO Report-PDF (and send a copy to your members
* Bonnie Raitt Benefit Tickets Still Available!
Enjoy incredible music by the beautiful and talented
Bonnie Raitt while helping keep Buffalo Field Campaign
on the front lines with the last wild buffalo! The Guacamole
Fund and Bonnie Raitt have generously offered Buffalo
Field Campaign 20 tickets to Bonnie's concert coming
to Big Sky, MT on August 27, 2008. Tickets are $200
each and include an aftershow backstage visit with Bonnie!
Ticket purchases go directly to Buffalo Field Campaign.
Only 7 tickets are left! Get
* COMMENT! RTR Purchase is a Lousy Land Deal
for Wild Buffalo
Your public comments are needed on the so-called land
deal - a 30-year lease of grazing rights from the Royal
Teton Ranch - between state and federal agencies, some
conservation groups, and the Church Universal &
Triumphant (CUT). If this land lease goes through, CUT
will receive more millions for leasing their land for
a mere 30 years so that a handful of captured, tested,
and tagged bison could temporarily occupy portions of
their native range outside Yellowstone's north boundary.
Over the years, thousands of wild bison have been slaughtered
for even looking in the direction of these lands. In
1999, $13 million U.S. tax dollars were spent to allow
wild bison and other migratory wildlife safe passage
through this critical corridor, but to date, bison have
been repeatedly harassed and killed for attempting to
access these lands. Now the agencies involved are touting
it as a huge step forward, when, in reality, only 25
buffalo would have temporary access to it and only after
being run through the typical buffalo torture gauntlet.
This deal is in its "scoping" phase, meaning
the entities are looking at the very beginnings of the
process, getting all the details in order before submitting
a plan or proposal for further public comment and consideration.
While BFC opposes the land deal, we have prepared some
key questions for the agencies to answer prior to proceeding
with the deal.
Comments are being accepted through August 11. Buffalo
Field Campaign has already submitted comments, and we
have provided talking points below to help you craft
yours. Send your comments to:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Attn: RTR Grazing Rights Purchase
1420 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
~ The notice is deficient and lacking key information
for the public to make substantive comments. We request
that this be rectified by re-issuing a public notice
and providing additional time for the public to review
new information requested herein and contribute comments
on the proposed action by the State of Montana and U.S.
~ Ask the agencies to provide factual information on
the specific locations and extent of fencing proposed,
what type of fencing will be installed, whether the
new fencing will be permanently installed or used temporarily,
and the duration.
~ As the fencing will be located in a known wildlife
corridor, ask the agencies to provide baseline information
on how migratory species including elk, bighorn sheep,
mule deer, pronghorn antelope and buffalo could be impacted.
Ask them to also provide information on how grizzly
bears, gray wolves and eagles may be impacted by the
proposed fencing and its impact on ungulate migration.
~ Ask the agencies to provide a map of elk, bighorn
sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and buffalo habitat
and migrations for the project area. Thomas Lemke, a
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist mapped this
area as part of the 1999 Royal Teton Ranch land agreement.
~ Ask the agencies to address and explain how the fencing
impacts critical wildlife habitat purchased and conserved
with taxpayer money in the $13,000,000 Royal Teton Ranch
land agreement reached in 1999.
~ Ask the agencies to provide factual information on
the terms of the 30-year agreement, and the sources
of funding secured, pledged or otherwise sought.
~ Ask the agencies to provide information on whether
the proposed 30-year lease is a stand-alone agreement,
or is in part or whole the "Bison Management Plan"
as called for in the Royal Teton Ranch land agreement
and the Record of Decision for the Interagency Bison
~ Ask the agencies to provide information on how the
30-year lease will be managed "to preserve, restore
and enhance the bison that utilize the Property and
~ Ask the agencies to provide information on the status,
location, and consideration of locating another buffalo
trap on Gallatin National Forest lands that may be constructed
as part of the lease agreement and/or the IBMP in the
THANK YOU for taking action for the buffalo! Please
contact Darrell, BFC's Habitat Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Join BFC for WoodCut Week, August 28 - September
Come to beautiful West Yellowstone, headquarters of
Buffalo Field Campaign, and help us gather, cut, and
stack the firewood that will keep our field volunteers
warm (and alive!) through Montana's long, harsh winter.
Come for a day, a few days or the whole week. We need
and appreciate your help! Bring friends!!
Please RSVP with barb at buffaloatwildrockies.org
* Last Words
"Brucellosis isn't like foot-and-mouth or other
highly contagious diseases," Stevenson said. "When
it has been quarantined, there isn't any danger to public
health, nor the health of the national cattle herd."
~ Randy Stevenson, a Wheatland, WY cattle rancher
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population
in the U.S.
2007-2008 Total: 1,616
2007-2008 Slaughter: 1,450
2007-2008 Hunt: 166
2007-2008 Quarantine: 112
Total Since 2000: 3,681*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts