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Weekly Update from the Field September 6, 2007
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* Update from the Field
* TAKE ACTION: Submit Your Comments in Support of Horsley's Petition
to List Yellowstone Bison as Endangered!
* Bison Hunt:  Save a Bison for just $3
* BFC's West Coast Road Show
* Summer Outreach Wrap-up at BFC
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
While the buffalo are being enjoyed by countless visitors to Yellowstone National Park, BFC has been busy throughout the summer talking with many people, educating, engaging in conversation, inspiring action.  Simultaneously, BFC has been very busy preparing our headquarters for the coming field season.  BFC is also travelling through some western states to share with people the buffalo's story. Volunteers currently scattered across the continent are beginning to turn their thoughts back to keeping company with wild buffalo and coming home to the family that awaits them in West Yellowstone. Meanwhile, the government and cattle industry continue to argue over all the ways they can harm and insult the last wild buffalo in the U.S.

Never a dull moment appears to be the theme of this summer. Opportunities to help wild buffalo are before us now.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is currently accepting comments on listing wild buffalo under the Endangered Species Act; this is extremely significant, and an opportunity we've been waiting for for a very long time.  Concurrently, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is gearing up for the next bison "hunt."  Information on both of these happenings is detailed below.  All friends of wild buffalo have some very important actions to take to help our shaggy friends into the future.  As BFC's Office Coordinator, barb, said to me the other night:  "None of us have any excuses not to do something."  We have great opportunity before us that will provide a living legacy of wild buffalo, roaming free throughout their native homeland.

Your role is critical.  Please read on to learn about the important actions you can take, make your voice heard for the herd, and please help spread the word!

Roam Free,
* TAKE ACTION:  Submit Your Comments in Support of Horsley's Petition to List Yellowstone Bison as Endangered!

Never doubt the power of one individual!  Just one person - James Horsley, a Minnesota citizen - got the attention of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with a letter (petition) he submitted back in 1999. It took eight and a half years, but his hand-written petition urging the USFWS to protect the Yellowstone buffalo under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) received attention.  His words instigated this critical opportunity for all of us to convince the USFWS that the wild buffalo of Yellowstone - the last wild American buffalo in this country -  and their habitat, deserve federal protection under the ESA.  If one person can make this happen, imagine what we can do together.

The USFWS has invited the public to submit information concerning the last wild herd of American buffalo - the so-called Yellowstone buffalo - their habitat and threats to their survival.  The Yellowstone buffalo represent the last remaining herd of wild buffalo in America, who's native range expanded much of the North American continent.  Now, isolated in Yellowstone National Park, unable to follow their natural instincts to migrate due to nefarious cattle politics, wild buffalo in the U.S. number fewer than 4,500 and are ecologically extinct throughout their native range.  100% of their historic migration routes have been denied them, though migration corridors and vast expanses of their habitat still exist and should be made available to them.  The Yellowstone herd is genetically and behaviorally unique, they are the last and only buffalo to occupy a portion of their native range since prehistoric times.  Current mismanagement practices embodied in the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) - funded by the American taxpayer to the tune of millions of dollars a year - threaten the evolutionary potential of this irreplaceable herd.

TAKE ACTION:  Please contact the USFWS today.  Let them know you support James Horsley's petition.  Urge them to grant Endangered Species Act protections to the Yellowstone buffalo, and strongly encourage them to reconsider their current position not to protect wild buffalo and their habitat under the ESA.  USFWS's finding is deficient and lacking serious scientific consideration of the full range of threats that imperil the wild American buffalo's survival. The agency must be encouraged to gather and use the 'best available science' when making their decision.   Our task is to identify important and substantial information that clearly demonstrates that the last wild buffalo, those remaining in Yellowstone, and their native, historic range, deserve protection under the ESA.  Include any information you feel is important to the history and future of wild buffalo in America.  Submit stories, maps, books, papers; any information we can submit to the USFWS to help them realize that the Yellowstone herd is, indeed, endangered, and deserving of ESA protection.

Please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/update0607/082307.html for more information and talking points. You can also review Horsley's petition on this page.

Send your comments to:
Michael Stempel
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Suite 645
Lakewood, CO  80228
(ph) 303-236-4253
(fax) 303-236-0027

* We will keep you updated and will soon have an ESA page up on our web site.  Please share this important action with everyone you know, including organizations, classes, and any groups or individuals who will take action for wild buffalo in America!
* Bison Hunt: Save a Buffalo for $3
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is about to start taking applications for the state's upcoming bison "hunt."  Once again, we have a hunt without habitat, wild bison are not respected as native wildlife, and the Department of Livestock (DOL) is the authorizing agency.  Bison will migrate out of an area where they  have been admired by millions of Park visitors into Montana and the sites of rifles.

Wild bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range - how can Montana justify a hunt?  It's become another way for the state to kill wild buffalo that migrate into Montana.  They are using hunters to do the dirty work of the DOL.

This year, FWP intends to provide 44 tags to kill buffalo that migrate into Montana.  The Nez Perce and Confederated Salish-Kootenai tribes, who are hunting under treaty rights have agreed to take an additional 44 buffalo between them.  Adding insult to injury, should an additional 60 wild buffalo migrate into Montana during the hunt season (Nov. 15 - Feb. 15) FWP will issue another 100 tags!  In a ridiculous par for the course, Montana insists on killing buffalo that haven't even migrated into the state.

TAKE ACTION:  You can save a wild buffalo from being hunted down on their winter range.  Starting tomorrow, Friday, September 7, FWP will be taking applications for the bison hunt lottery.  If you apply and win the lottery, you can choose NOT to use your tag and hence save a wild buffalo for just $3.

Information on how to apply for a bison hunt tag is at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legislative/bisontags.html.

For questions or more information, contact Jesse Crocker at jesse@thisside.net or call him at 406-646-0070.

Please also continue to write to FWP and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer to let them know you oppose Montana's bison hunt.  Letters to the Editor of Montana and national papers are also critical. Yellowstone buffalo that migrate into Montana are never left alone. They have no year-round habitat in the state, and are "managed" as a nuisance animal by livestock interests.  Whenever wild buffalo enter Montana, they are chased back into the Park by government agents and cattle interests on horses, snowmobiles, ATVS and helicopters, atrocious activities called hazing that not only harm buffalo, but disrupt the entire ecosystem.  Many times wild buffalo that continue to follow their instincts and don't "respond to hazing" are captured and sent to slaughter and quarantine facilities.  These cruel and senseless actions are all based on the cattle industry's fear that wild bison "may" transmit brucellosis to livestock.  Brucellosis came from the European livestock that now swarm this country in the tens of millions, and wild buffalo have never transmitted the disease back to them.  Brucellosis is being used as a tool to keep wild bison from reoccupying their native habitat.  Montana's hunt is just one more way for cattle interests to "justify" killing wild bison that cross that nonsensical, man-made border.

Contact Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks as well as Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and let them know you OPPOSE the bison "hunt" and why:

Please write Letters to the Editor of local, state and national papers.  Contact information for some papers as well as tips on writing an LTE are found at:

Remember:  printed buffalo-friendly letters get you a free "Let Buffalo Roam!" BFC t-shirt! 
Just send you letter, mailing address and t-shirt size to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org or to BFC, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT  59758.
* BFC's West Coast Road Show
Mike, Fischburne and Chris are underway with BFC's West Coast Road Show! The tour began last night in Nevada, and heads to California tomorrow. Throughout the tour BFC's work and the message to let wild buffalo roam is being supported by incredible musical acts such as Phoenix, After Buffalo, Good Shield & 7th Generation Rise and more! Mike Mease will speak to the beautiful masses at this Saturday's Power to the Peaceful in San Francisco's Speed Way Meadow. Check out the schedule and join this awesome BFC crew if you can! http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/roadshowswest2007.html
* Summer Outreach Wrap-up at BFC
As the summer of 2007 wraps up, Buffalo Field Campaign would like to thank everyone who makes it possible for us to tell the world about the Yellowstone Bison. This past summer was eventful, and we are reminded of the people who make it possible for us to be in the field with the bison, advocate, and be a worldwide source for media, educators, and folks who are interested in the plight of the Great American Bison.

Summer is our primary time to do outreach inside of Yellowstone National Park.  This is a great opportunity for us to share not only our knowledge but our experiences with park visitors from around the world, many of whom come chiefly to see the Yellowstone Bison. Two Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers set up in a 'designated free speech' zone inside of the park each day from June 1 through September 3 to advocate for bison habitat on the Gallatin National Forest that surround the park and gather signatures to have the Yellowstone Bison listed as a Distinct Population Segment under the Endangered Species Act.

We would like to thank all of the visitors from within the park who took time to stop and learn about the Yellowstone Bison.

We also had many classes visit us this summer, including Myron Blosser's Discovery Group who travelled all the way from Virginia! Greg Gordon's class from Montana State University also came to BFC this summer for two days. Not only did these students learn about bison, they helped haul 12 cords of wood to campaign headquarters to keep volunteers warm for the frigid, harsh Montana winters.  The Yellowstone Association visited the headquarters in August.  Filled with college professors, this class asked in-depth questions about the Interagency Bison Management Plan and sound science regarding brucellosis. We were glad to be able to answer their questions, and be honest about the history and prior management of the Yellowstone Bison in the early 1900's.

Again, we would like to show our gratitude for the people and supporters who make it possible for Buffalo Field Campaign to document and record actions taken against the bison, advocate for bison to roam, and have a true desire to protect these great creatures. We would not be able to tell the world about the Yellowstone Bison without you!
Stephanie Munce
* Last Words
"It is the doggonedest thing.  When the buffalo leaves the Park, then the State of Montana is responsible to chase them around, to round them up or have a hunt.  We have been hunting them for the last couple of years.... So we have been hunting them when they leave the Park but we have to wait until their nose crosses a line, and then we can shoot them... So, I would suggest if we could hunt them on one side of the line we ought to be able to hunt them on the other side of the line and open up the entire basin for hunting."

~ Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, advocating for opening up Yellowstone National Park to hunting bison, in statements before the House Resource Subcomittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, March 20, 2007

"You know this species is really the symbol of human's destructive capability.  I mean you look at all the species in this country, and you just contemplate the idea of 30 to 50 or even 60 million bison brought down in the span of just a few decades ... to just dozens or hundreds of individuals.  I mean the destructive capacity is extraordinary... This is a special population of animals.  They have a special place in the country with Yellowstone as the world's first national park.  They are a symbol of the west.  They are an icon of western Americana.  They are treated like shaggy members of a dispossessed cattle herd that are encroaching on adjacent and occupied cattle ranches."

~ Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO, Humane Society of the U.S., before the House Resource Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, March 20, 2007

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