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Weekly Update from the Field January 29, 2009
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* Update from the Field
* BFC Needs Help Raising Funds for a Snowplow
* Last Week to Order Valentine Cards
* BFC Notes from the American Bison Society Conference
* Last Words
* Kill Tally
* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
We have been getting a lot of snow this week, close to another foot, and a few days ago temperatures dropped down to the negative 30's. As of this writing, it's a balmy 14 degrees in Winter Wonderland. But this snow-covered paradise is missing one huge element: the buffalo.

The absence of buffalo in Montana hasn't stopped the Department of Livestock (DOL) from demonstrating their intolerance for our shaggy friends. According to Gallatin National Forest (GNF), the DOL will be putting up the bison trap between now and February 1. Hot on the heels of the adaptive management changes which were to allow an unlimited number of buffalo to occupy Horse Butte for a portion of the season, the DOL apparently already has plans to trap them. Ironically, GNF Supervisor Mary Erickson views the trap as a "tool of tolerance" and signed off on the DOL's request to renew their permit for the Horse Butte trap for the next ten years. GNF received 18,100 comments from the public last spring, which overwhelmingly opposed renewal of the permit and favored wild bison occupying Horse Butte. Our words apparently fell upon deaf ears, with only the livestock industry's voice being heard. BFC patrols have been monitoring the site, but we haven't seen any DOL activity there yet. Unfortunately, the DOL has never put up the Horse Butte trap without intending to use it.

This lack of tolerance demonstrated by the DOL prior to buffalo even being in Montana is yet another example of why they are the wrong agency to have any authority over wild bison. Currently, there is a bill moving through the Montana Legislature that could change that. House Bill 253, the Wild Buffalo Recovery & Conservation Act, is bipartisan legislation that would 1) remove the DOL's authority over managing wild bison in Montana, 2) would recognize wild bison as a valued native wildlife species in the state, and 3) address private property concerns of landowners who welcome wild buffalo on their land, such as residents of Horse Butte. HB253 is being heard by the Montana House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee today in Helena. BFC is in attendance, with many other bison advocates. We are hopeful the bill will pass through committee, and we'll let you know how it turns out. Montana residents can take action on this bill.

Everyone can take action for the buffalo by sending a letter to President Barack Obama today! We ask him to act quickly and do everything in his power to help this last wild population of American bison in the U.S. Thanks to everyone who has already taken action and passed on the word to save the herds. If you haven't already, please send a letter now and please use the tell-a-friend feature so awareness and action for the buffalo grows!

It can't be stressed enough that this is a centuries-old range war that will take all of our resolve to realize our collective vision of wild buffalo once again roaming free on their native lands. "Endless pressure, endlessly applied" is going to make the difference. Thank you all for being a strong voice for the last wild buffalo!

Roam Free!
* BFC Needs Help Raising Funds for a Snowplow
The snow has been accumulating fast here in West Yellowstone. Just this week we received another foot, and the snow is falling as I write this. BFC currently does not have a working snow plow, so volunteers have been out with hand shovels, working into the dark hours, clearing our huge driveway so patrols can get out into the field, and cabin residents aren't snowed in. We have had some help from others, but it is critical that we are self-sufficient. The backs of volunteers are strong, but we can't afford to exhaust them this way when at any time, buffalo could come out of the Park. Consequently, we are in desperate need of a snowplow.

BFC needs your help to raise $4,000 for a plow that will enable us to clear our 1/4-mile long driveway so we can continue to be in the field at first light to monitor the wild bison migration.

If you can help, please visit our Donate Now page or send a check or money order (no cash, please) to BFC-Snowplow Fund, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758. THANK YOU!
* Last Week to Order Special BFC Valentines
Still looking for a special Valentine gift for that special someone? Show your Love to the people in your life while you share your love for wild buffalo and Buffalo Field Campaign.

For only $15 each, BFC will mail a hand-crafted Valentine to the recipient(s) of your choice. Each beautiful card will be addressed and signed exactly as you indicate. Cards will be postmarked from West Yellowstone and will be shipped to arrive by Valentine's Day.

Orders must be received by Friday, February 6.
Click here for more information and to order a card.
* BFC Notes from the American Bison Society Conference
Buffalo Field Campaign representatives attended the the American Bison Society's Building Blocks for Bison Ecological Restoration conference held in Rapid City, South Dakota November 17-18, 2008. The conference proceedings are not yet available but Buffalo Field Campaign has compiled and posted our notes from the presentations and discussions online.

There is a great deal of information on bison genetics, the keystone role bison play in keeping grasslands healthy, the species' conservation status, disease threats, the social, cultural and economic context for restoration of bison, and we encourage to have a look for yourself.

We have also included information on the U.S. Department of Interior's Bison Conservation Initiative and provided contact information for you to start a dialogue with decision-makers on what future and vision you see for restoring wild American bison in their native range.
* Last Words
When the sun goes down
And the moon comes up,
When the winds begin to blow
And the clouds start to gather,
Across the stars you can see
The spirit buffalo begin to run.
When the air fills with static
And nature unleashes itself,
When the wilderness creatures gather about
And lend their song of life in harmony,
Through the sky you can see
The great white buffalo rumble on.
But when the land is misused and overrun
And its beauty spent and corrupted,
When nature is stripped and ravaged
And pollution flows in its veins,
You can see in the clouded sky
The buffalo stumble, fall and die.
Yet if you give of yourself and work to help
And listen to the voice of the earth,
If you dare to hope and believe
In things greater than man,
You may yet see in the star-swept sky
A small white buffalo running by
~ Golden Eagle
* 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
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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 U.S.

Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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