* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
There are still no buffalo within Montana's borders.
Daily recons are patrolling the north and west migration
corridors, looking in all the places favored by buffalo,
but our shaggy friends are currently living their lives
within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.
Certainly it is good for the buffalo, for any who cross
the imaginary line and enter Montana have hunters waiting
for them until February 15. But our hearts and spirits
are lonely in the darkness of their absence. We are
venturing miles into the park just to get a distant
glimpse of their existence. The massive slaughter last
year, which took over 1,600 buffalo, coupled with a
severe winter kill, ravaged this last wild population;
with so few buffalo remaining, and this season's relatively
mild winter, migration is slow to occur.
While we remain steadfast in the field every day, we
are also using these quiet times to help the buffalo
in other ways: attending meetings to speak for the buffalo,
organizing events with other buffalo advocates, participating
in the legislative process, making new connections with
buffalo champions, raising awareness, strengthening
our cause and keeping pressure applied.
You are an integral key in every measure of success.
By keeping the buffalo's story in the hearts and minds
of people, holding decision-makers accountable and pressuring
them to take positive action, introducing the issue
to those who are unaware, raising awareness in creative
ways, and helping maintain BFC's presence on the front
lines you stand with the buffalo from wherever you are.
In solidarity for the buffalo, for the wild, we will
realize our attainable goal. Thank you!
ACTION! Urge President Obama to Help the Buffalo!
The day has come: there is new leadership in America.
Promising change and a new direction, President Barack
Obama has the power to help the last wild population
of American buffalo in numerous ways. The time is now
to call on him, and we've made it easy for you to do
ACTION! Please take a moment to send
a letter to President Barack Obama. We have provided
a sample letter for your convenience, but please be
sure to personalize it (form letters are frequently
ignored!) and ask President Obama to help the buffalo
in your own words. There is also a feature that will
allow you to easily send the letter to your friends
and acquaintances, so we can make a strong showing for
the buffalo! Thank you so much for taking action for
* Have You Ordered Your Buffalo Valentine's
Valentine's Day approaches, and with it, our offer to
send a card with conscience to the recipient(s) of your
choice. Your card will represent an investment in the
wildest of wild bison-the Yellowstone-area herd-and
our ongoing work for their well-being and freedom. How's
that for a Valentine with heart?!?
Cards are only $15. The deadline to order cards is Friday,
February 6. Order
* VIDEO: Citizen Walks for the Buffalo
Anyone, anywhere and at anytime can take action for
the buffalo in a variety of ways.
BFC volunteer, Art, has chosen to walk for the buffalo
in support of their right to roam freely, and in opposition
to their harassment and slaughter. Braving cold temperatures
and a dangerous highway, Art walks with courage to raise
awareness. In his words, "We must understand we
are only visitors here. The buffalo are wild animals,
we are encroaching on their land. We must respect that."
a video of Art.
We trust Art will be an inspiration to all buffalo advocates,
far and wide. He demonstrates that even one person can
make a difference. Thank you Art!!
* BFC Attends DOL Brucellosis Action Plan Meeting
As the two of us pulled into the Ennis Fire House parking
lot, our anxiety rose. Pickup truck after pickup truck
lined the rows. We were on rancher turf. With video
camera in hand, we were the only wildlife advocates
there to listen to and document the Department of Livestock's
informational meeting about Montana's new Brucellosis
As we entered the packed room, Montana State Vet Marty
Zaluski stated that this meeting was not about bison,
but was in fact about elk. We thought it was about how
the cattle industry was going to better manage their
cattle by taking risk management measures against brucellosis.
But cattle producers will have to take very little action,
and any costs they incur will be paid for by state or
federal tax dollars. As Zaluski explained the small
measures cattle producers in seven counties around Yellowstone
would have to take, there was question by some "Why
us? What did we do? Why does the burden fall on us?"
I bit my lip and forced myself not to remind people
that invasive cattle introduced brucellosis to this
country and infected native wildlife. Other ranchers
vocalized frustration that the buffalo and elk weren't
all rounded up, tested and slaughtered or vaccinated.
Some ranchers called for eradication of brucellosis,
which, surprisingly, most all agreed was not possible
because it exists in numerous species, including domestic
MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist, Kurt Alt, explained
that brucellosis, as a disease, isn't a problem for
elk and bison (they develop immunities to it, and this
is what gets them killed because in blood-tests if they've
been exposed, they test sero-positive due to antibodies,
then it's off to the slaughterhouse). The problem lies
in the politics that drive the war against these wild
animals. He also noted how elk feed grounds in Wyoming
were a major source for disease transmission and even
Zaluski agreed with that. But, he also made note that
they aren't being shut down because many ranchers make
money growing the alfalfa to feed the elk, and other
ranchers like it because it keeps wild elk off of "their"
grass. Feed grounds unnaturally concentrate large numbers
of wildlife and can (and will) perpetuate the spread
of diseases far worse than brucellosis, such as tuberculosis
and chronic wasting disease. One reasonable rancher
raised his voice about how brucellosis isn't even a
big deal, it's not a human health threat anymore, so
why do we even need to worry about it? Global trade
was the response from Zaluski. One more reason to boycott
Montana is trying to regain its brucellosis-free status,
so elk are now in the brucellosis-fraud cross hairs
in Montana; two were shot near Gardiner last week, and
in the Madison Valley a special hunt is underway to
reduce their population by 3,000. FWP's Kurt Alt promised
the ranchers that "we are hammering and will continue
to hammer" the elk in the Madison Valley. If brucellosis
were to go away, the light would be shed on the truth
that this is all about grass and who gets to eat it.
But, brucellosis is here to stay, and the real issue
is still grass. The only way to manage the disease is
to better manage cattle, or remove cattle from wildlife-rich
areas, and simultaneously shut down wildlife feeding
grounds, erase the imaginary lines and let wild elk
and buffalo disperse and roam freely once again.
* Last Words
"The original ranch was twenty-three hundred acres
out of the old Meusebach survey of the Fisher-Miller
grant, the original house a oneroom hovel of sticks
and wattle. That was in eighteen sixty-six. In that
same year the first cattle were driven through what
was still Bexar County and across the north end of the
ranch and on to Fort Sumner and Denver. Five years later
his great-grandfather sent six hundred steers over that
same trail and with the money he built the house and
by then the ranch was already eighteen thousand acres.
In eighteen eighty-three they ran the first barbed wire.
By eighty-six the buffalo were gone."
~ From Cormac McCarthy's 'All the Pretty Horses'
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population
in the U.S.
2008-2009 Total: 2
2008-2009 Slaughter: 0
2008-2009 Hunt: 1
2008-2009 Quarantine: 0
2008-2009 Shot by Agents: 1
2007-2008 Total: 1,616
Total Since 2000: 3,683*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts
Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
BFC is the only group working in the field every day
in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the
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