Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Wild buffalo will soon begin their seasonal migration
from Yellowstone National Park's high country to lower
elevation habitat within Montana. Gigantic bulls going
solo or in the company of bachelor groups are typically
the first to make the journey, followed by mixed family
groups later in the season. In making these ancient
treks, as they have for thousands of years, violent
challenges await them. Once wild buffalo step foot into
Montana they are threatened with harassment, hunting,
capture, quarantine and slaughter. Currently, misguided
cattle politics rule the landscape and the law.
Like the migration of salmon, geese, whales, and butterflies,
the buffalo's ancient instincts carry them across the
lands of their ancestors. Only in and around Yellowstone
have wild buffalo survived continuously since prehistoric
times, and only these genetically and behaviorally unique
buffalo continue to follow their migratory instincts.
The man-made border delineating Yellowstone from Montana
means absolutely nothing to them; they listen only to
their timeless natural instincts. When they follow the
path evolution has gifted them with, state and federal
government agents will be there to try and stop it.
They will harass and kill them, and will enlist the
help of hunters to keep Montana free of their presence.
Through it all Buffalo Field Campaign will be there
to bear witness, standing with the buffalo on their
native habitat, telling the world what is happening
to them, and advocating for their lasting protection.
As winter and buffalo migration season approaches, BFC
is busy getting ready for this year's frontlines work.
One big job at the moment is cutting and stacking all
the gathered firewood that will keep BFC volunteers
warm through the intensely frigid months. This weekend,
October 6 & 7, is Woodcut Weekend. If you're able
to join us in person, please consider coming to BFC
headquarters in beautiful West Yellowstone. Room and
board will be provided and you're bound to have a great
time with great people in a majestic landscape. Please
come if you can!
It doesn't stop there, though. There is so much you
can do from wherever you may roam to help the last wild
buffalo. Please join us in supporting Endangered Species
Protection for the last wild buffalo, and read on to
learn about an incredible evening with Amy Goodman of
Democracy Now! We also send our heartfelt thanks to
those who made the West Coast Road Show so successful,
and we have some good news to share with you regarding
the wild buffalo's chosen calving grounds on Horse Butte.
Thank you for being with us and for the buffalo. Buffalo
Field Campaign is everyone, everywhere who cares about
wild buffalo and takes action on their behalf. Together
we will make the buffalo dreams come true.
* TAKE ACTION: Help List Yellowstone Bison as
On August 15, 2007 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
issued its finding in response to a hand-written petition
submitted by a citizen from Minnesota, Mr. James Horsley,
on January 5, 1999, urging the government to protect
the Yellowstone population - the last wild bison left
in America - under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The USFWS found that the wild population of American
bison currently occupying its native range in and around
Yellowstone National Park is a Distinct Vertebrate Population
Segment. Buffalo Field Campaign has been circulating
a petition for years to bolster public support for protecting
the Yellowstone population - America's last wild bison
- as a Distinct Population Segment. We encourage you
to download the petition and gather support in your
local community by collecting signatures and submitting
them to BFC. We will collect these petitions and deliver
them to the USFWS.
USFWS acknowledges that Yellowstone National Park is
the only place in the U.S. where wild bison have continuously
existed since prehistoric times. 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 bison as a Distinct Vertebrate
Population Segment, and strongly encourage them to reconsider
their current position not to protect wild bison and
their habitat under the ESA.
USFWS' finding, however, is deficient and lacking serious
scientific consideration of the full range of threats
that imperil the wild American bison's survival. The
agency must be encouraged to gather and use the "best
available science" when making their decision.
Please help identify important and substantial information
that clearly demonstrates that the last wild bison,
those remaining in Yellowstone, and their native, historic
range, deserve full protection under the ESA. Include
any information you feel is important to the history
and future of wild bison 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.
INFORMATION YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE:
* Scientific, legal, historical, literary articles and
* Indigenous story lines on bison occupying the Plains
and Mountain ecosystems in the Greater Yellowstone region.
* Video, audio and photos.
* Population surveys, habitat maps, genetic and biological
* Petitions (Download BFC's ESA PETITION: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/science/buffaloesapetition.pdf),
send letters, faxes, emails, and phone calls of support
to the USFWS can make a difference for America's last
WILD BISON NEED INDIGENOUS SUPPORT!
The USFWS ignored any cultural significance of the bison
to indigenous peoples. First Nations must be heard.
Help us fill in the storylines of yesterday! Many Americans
have only a contemporary understanding of the bison's
historic range. Tribal members from the Indigenous Cultures
who evolved and coexisted with the bison can contribute
significantly, helping to fill in the many gaps that
still exist, by sharing stories, songs, and indigenous
knowledge of the bison's ancestral landscape and significance,
what the people and the land have suffered in their
absence, and what their return would mean.
SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO:
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, CO 80228
For more information contact Darrell at email@example.com.
Please stay tuned for a Special Alert announcing BFC's
comprehensive ESA web page that will help you build
your case to the USFWS.
* BFC Meets Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!
Thanks to all of the BFC family who made possible our
visit with Amy Goodman last week in New York City. We
met up with Amy on a busy street outside HBO's studio
for the premiere of a documentary on the revolutionary
Civil Rights event that came to be known as the Little
Rock 9. Earlier that morning Amy had been in Atlanta
conducting a long sought after interview with Jimmy
Carter. Now she was meeting with the film-makers and
the star of this controversial documentary. They were
to be featured on Democracy Now! the next morning. Roman
and I enjoyed the film and the opportunity to hear the
debate that followed.
We arrived at the restaurant where we were to have dinner
with Amy Goodman about two hours late but no one seemed
to mind as she was well known and well liked. Amy is
a strong and vibrant woman. Obviously tired from her
busy day of travel, interviews, and premieres, she still
had plenty of attention to give to us and to the buffalo.
She was not too familiar with the issue but was very
interested in Native American involvement and perspective
as well as personal stories from the field. She asked
about the roles of the government and the cattle industry
in the buffalo slaughter. She quickly embraced the issue
and asked thought-provoking questions. When she learned
that BFC values her time as much as we do, she was embarrassed
that we had gone to such lengths just to share our ideas.
Roman and I felt humbled by her tireless work ethic,
her interest in us and the buffalo, and her willingness
to be fully present with us. We left our evening feeling
we had truly been in the presence of a great and powerful
The next morning we watched a live taping of Democracy
Now!, had a picture taken with Amy and Juan Gonzalez,
and received a hug from the amazing Minnie Brown, one
of the original Little Rock 9. Minnie's story reminded
us of the buffalo. Fifty years ago she walked across
an imaginary line of segregation and discrimination.
Today she is a strong and beautiful warrior for civil
rights. The buffalo continue to walk across that same
imaginary line…segregated from their native lands
and discriminated against like no other wild animal
in the ecosystem. It was truly an honor to meet two
modern-day heroines and stand proudly with them as buffalo
We left poems and articles about the buffalo and have
followed up this week with an email to continue our
conversation with Amy and for the wild buffalo!
For the Buffalo,
Justine, Roman, and Japhy Sanchez
* West Coast Road Show a Huge Success
Thanks to all who made the 2007 West Coast Road Show
a great trip. With so many people helping in so many
ways, please forgive me if I forget to mention you by
name. I have nothing but thanks for all who helped make
the tour so fantastic.
First off a big Buffalo hug to Genevive, Joe, Scott
and their Dad. On with the hugs to Madonna and Pablo.
Continued love to Allisun, Alisia, Alex, Phonenix &
After Buffalo, Hermon, KP, Jill, Michael Franti &
Spearhead, Guerrilla Management, John, Kitrina, Berkeley
Ecology Center, the Berkeley Tree Sitters, Seconds on
End, the Stars and Plough, Patty, Patagonia Palo Alto,
Jen and the crew, Sampson, Crysta, Goodshield and family,
Maryjane, Leonard Peltier Support Group-South Bay, Santa
Cruz Indian Council, Reno Patagonia, Ron and Katlyn.
You all are great and thanks again for your never ending
generosity. The Buffalo will prevail.
Back with the Buffalo,
* Last Words - Montana's Largest Buffalo Safe
Since a picture speaks a thousand words, we thought
these photos would be a great way to let you know that
a privately-owned area of Horse Butte, previously the
Munns' Ranch, is now going to be the largest Buffalo
Safe Zone in Montana! Nearly 800 acres of prime buffalo
habitat (their chosen calving grounds) has been sold
to the buffalo-friendly folks of Yellowstone Ranch Preserve.
Though there will be a small amount of development (we
are told no more than five houses) all of the land will
be a safe haven for our wild brother and sister buffalo
and other wildlife. Even the DOL and other buffalo-harassing
agencies have been warned that buffalo are welcome,
but the agents are not. See for yourself where the buffalo
are welcome to roam:
Many thanks to long-time Horse Butte resident and dear
family of BFC, Ann Stovall, for taking these photos
and allowing us to share them with you.