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Weekly Update from the Field September 20, 2007
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* Update from the Field
* TAKE ACTION: Support Petition to List Yellowstone Bison as Endangered!
* Montana Bison Hunt:  Save a Bison for just $5
* Wyoming Bison Hunt: Slaughter at the "Refuge"
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Frost is in the air, reminding us that we are not so far away from winter in West Yellowstone.  Already, the high mountain peaks are getting their first dustings of snow.  Wild buffalo will soon be on the move, seeking lower elevation habitat outside of Yellowstone National Park for the critical forage they can find where the snows are less deep and grasses easier to find.  Unfortunately, their migration can also spell their peril, as hunters gear up to take a shot at buffalo that migrate into Montana, and later the Department of Livestock and federal and state government will use our federal tax dollars to haze, capture, quarantine and slaughter members of the last wild population simply for migrating through their native habitat.  As always, BFC will be ready to stand with the buffalo in their defense.  You can too, no matter where you are.  There is ample opportunity to take action to ensure a viable future for wild buffalo in Montana and throughout America.

Around the cabin firewood has been gathered and we are gearing up for Woodcut Weekend which will take place on October 6 and 7.  BFC invites you to join us at campaign headquarters to help cut and stack the many cords of firewood that will keep the masses of volunteers warm throughout the region's frigid winter.   Contact us at buffaloatwildrockies.org or 406-646-0070 if you can join us for Woodcut Weekend.  Room and board will be provided and it's always a lot of fun.

Eric and barb escorted members of the Endangered Species Coalition around the West Yellowstone area, showing them the buffalo's favorite migration routes, and the ugly traps that await them.  We are grateful that the Coalition is taking a great interest in the protection of wild buffalo; the animals that BFC stands with are members of the last truly and continuously wild population of bison in the United States, deserving of strong protection.  As you know, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently accepting your comments to help build a strong case for protecting these buffalo under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Please see below to learn more and to take action now!

Mike, Fishburne and Chris have returned to camp after a very successful West Coast Road Show.  Be on the lookout for a full update from these brave buffalo road warriors in the coming weeks.  Many thanks to everyone who helped make the Road Show another great success!

Not too long from now volunteers will begin to arrive, moving in time with the buffalo's migration, hearing their call.  People will come from all over the country, and indeed, around the world, to stand in defense of the last wild buffalo.  If you are interested in volunteering please contact us.  Our greatest need for volunteers, however, is from March through May.  Room and board is provided to anyone willing to stand in defense of America's last wild buffalo.

Please consider making a monetary or in-kind donation to BFC to keep our field patrols going strong.  It takes a lot for us to feed the hundreds of people who walk through our doors, keep our video and communication equipment in good working order, and keep our volunteers well equipped with skis, snowshoes, and the gear that keeps everyone warm and dry in the frigid high country.  It is you who makes our work possible and we couldn't be here without your help and support.  Thank you to everyone who keeps us in the field, sharing the buffalo's story with the world and advocating for their lasting protection.

Roam Free!
* TAKE ACTION:  Support Petition to List Yellowstone Bison as Endangered!
Right now we have one of the last chances to gain meaningful legal protection for wild buffalo and their native habitat.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is currently accepting your comments to help demonstrate that the last wild population of buffalo in the U.S. - the Yellowstone buffalo - and their historic native range deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act.   Yellowstone is the last stronghold for the wild American buffalo. This remnant population represents the last of our nation's wild buffalo.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!  Please contact the USFWS and 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, petitions, 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.

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

For more information, including James Horsley's peition to the USFWS, the USFWS finding notice, talking points and more please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/update0607/082307.html or
contact Darrell at z@wildrockies.org.  Please note that BFC is building a comprehensive web page dedicated to this ESA petition and we will share it with you just as soon as it is finalized. 

Save the herd ~ spread the word!
* Montana Bison Hunt: Save a Buffalo for Just $5
There's still time to put in your application to help save a Yellowstone buffalo from Montana's so-called hunt.  This year, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) intends to issue 44 bison tags to Montana hunters while both the Nez Perce and Confederated Salish-Kootenai tribes will hunt under treaty right, taking an additional 44 buffalo between them.  While we respect tribal sovereignty and fully support treaty rights, these feelings do not extend to the state of Montana who is only in the business of killing or harassing every buffalo that migrates into Montana to serve the whims and prejudice of the cattle industry.   Wild buffalo are afforded no year-round habitat in Montana, they are currently mismanaged by the Montana Department of Livestock whenever they cross the border from Yellowstone, and there is never a a time when wild buffalo are allowed to exist in Montana without being hazed, captured, slaughtered, quarantined or hunted.  Now the buffalo that have been admired by millions of Yellowstone visitors all summer will be "fair game" from November 15 to February 15, when they migrate across the manmade border into Montana.  And for salt in the wound, should an additional 60 or more buffalo migrate into Montana during the hunt period, Montana FWP will issue 100 more tags to kill, proving that they believe the only good buffalo in Montana is a dead buffalo.

You can make a difference by applying for a buffalo tag and choosing not to use it.  The application fee is just $5.  Hunting districts include 385 (Gardiner area) and 395 (West Yellowstone area).  You can choose either, because both are wild buffalo migration hot spots.  Should you win the lottery and be in possession of a buffalo tag, you only need to take the hunter safety course to waive your license fee.  At the end of the hunt season, members of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks conduct interviews with buffalo tag holders, and this is a great time to let them know that you chose not to kill a wild buffalo because they are part of the last wild population in the United States, ecologically extinct throughout the country and heavily mismanaged.  Wild buffalo must be afforded year-round habitat in Montana and respected as a valued native wildlife species.

Save a Wild Buffalo for Just $5:  http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legislative/bisontags.html
Please also call, write, or email Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks as well as Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and urge them to call off the hunt and demand that wild buffalo be provided year-round habitat in Montana!  http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
* Wyoming Bison Hunt: Slaughter at the "Refuge"
It's really quite amazing what is going on at the National Elk Wildlife Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming.  As you may know, the Elk Refuge engages in a policy of artificial feeding of elk during severe winters. Those yummy alfalfa cakes have attracted buffalo too. The result is that over the years the buffalo population on the refuge has increased due to what is essentially baiting of wildlife to congregate in specific areas on public lands to keep them off private lands which have steadily impinged on wildlife habitat.

On the refuge and at 22 other feedlots in Wyoming, elk are artificially fed because of political policies. Stockgrowers and farmers have consistently opposed closing these feed stations. By concentrating large populations of buffalo and elk they create the conditions under which disease transmission, including brucellosis, thrives. Both Wyoming and Idaho have lost their brucellosis-free status in recent years due to transmission from feedground elk to cattle.

One would think that Wyoming wildlife biologists would be leading the call for the phase-out of these feed stations, and for habitat acquisition for both elk and buffalo. Instead, as of September 15th, they have instituted a public "hunt" to kill up to several hundred buffalo on the refuge. If we as humans determine there are "too many" bison, artificially feeding them through the winter is certainly not the answer.

This current policy is just one more instance of the irrational and unethical behavior on the part of wildlife biologists bending to political pressure. The continued feeding of wildlife only exacerbates the problem.
~ barb abramo

Buffalo Field Campaign, the Animal Welfare Institute, and Jackson Resident Walt Farmer recently submitted a letter outlining legal and ethical deficiencies in the agencies' authorization of the bison hunt on the National Elk Refuge.  You can read about it in a recent Casper Star Tribune article.

CST article on NER bison hunt and AWI/BFC letter.

TAKE ACTION:  Contact the National Elk Refuge and urge them to
1) Call off the hunt; and
2) phase-out the feed grounds!  307-733-9212
* Last Words
"Nature did not draw the lines of "No Trespass" for buffalo around Yellowstone National Park.  This region was not meant to be their prison nor the marshals of the Fish & Wildlife Service their guards."
~ James (Jim) Horsley

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