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Weekly Update from the Field July 2, 2009
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* Update from the Field
* Continuing to Honor and Remember our Friend Frog
* BFC Volunteer Cabin Needs 2 On-Demand Hot Water Heaters
* Mark Your Calendars: Wood Cut Week, Sept. 14-20
* Last Words
* Kill Tally
* Update from the Field

Baby buffalo stretches after a nap. BFC file photo.

In spite of the dangerously low population count of America's last wild bison population, and the fact that wild bison have no year-round habitat in Montana, the state is once again going ahead with another canned hunt. Yellowstone National Park estimates the population at approximately 3,000 individuals, however BFC believes that this figure is inflated. In either case, this low population number is alarming because prior to European encroachment, the American buffalo represented the largest concentration of land mammal on the North American continent, existing in the tens of millions. Now a little green dot on the map is all they have left, and even here they aren't safe from harm. But, the "hunt" will proceed because apparently Montana feels the only good bison is a dead bison. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will allow 144 bison to be killed by hunters at Yellowstone's border. At least twice as many bison may be taken, totaling possibly more than 288, if Native American tribes, hunting under treaty right, decide to conduct their own hunts.

BFC protests Montana's bison hunt. BFC file photo.

Unless hunters awaken to the unfairness of this hunt and refuse to participate while simultaneously advocating for year-round bison habitat, the hunt, scheduled to last from November 15, 2009 to February 15, 2010, could wipe out a significant portion of the already low population.

State and federal agencies are again looking for a home for 44 of the buffalo that have been subjected to the Quarantine Feasibility Study. Since some of these buffalo were pregnant, the numbers are likely a little bit higher now. The Northern Arapaho were planning to bring the bison to the Wind River Reservation, but at the last minute the tribe surprisingly rejected their arrival due to unwarranted fears of brucellosis transmission. We can only suspect that livestock interests pressured the tribe into rejecting these bison. The buffalo are still in the quarantine facility and if there is no interest shown by a qualified group or interested tribe, rather than finally being released from their prison, they will be sent to slaughter.

As you gather with friends and family this holiday weekend to celebrate Independence Day, please remember the buffalo and their continued struggle for independence. The day when buffalo again roam free will be a day worthy of celebration!

~Buffalo Field Campaign
* Continuing to Honor and Remember our Friend Frog
Nearly 100 friends and family from across the country gathered in Montana to honor and remember Brian "Frog" Gharst. The gatherings were powerful testimonies to the way Frog touched many lives, supported his friends and community, and deeply loved his family. His mom and his sister Michelle joined his friends in Missoula, along with his brother-in-law and young niece. It was a mix of intense sorrow for the loss, and gratitude at being with so many other beloved friends, many of them also past BFC volunteers and wild buffalo advocates.

During a dinner and a memorial ceremony the following day, people shared all kinds of stories about Frog's life. We remembered all the wonderful things he created (rickshaws, bicycle trailers, painting easels, custom bike racks, a cargo tricycle), we remembered the way he inspired community through graceful acceptance and by cooking up huge feasts to share, and we remembered the actions he took to protect others and the planet (defending an unknown child from an abusive parent, putting himself in the way of the DOL access route to the Horse Butte capture facility, helping convert the Seeds of Peace bus to run on used vegetable oil). Each person then took some ashes to spread by Rattlesnake creek, where Brian loved to swim.

A smaller group of friends, along with Frog's mom, traveled to Horse Butte to further honor Brian. Each carried some of his ashes, and spread them there where the buffalo long to roam free.

We all continue to grieve, and to find ways to live our own lives to carry on the intense dedication and love Frog offered the world. You can read more about Frog's life and activism in a collective piece in a forthcoming EarthFirst! journal.
* BFC Volunteer Cabin Needs 2 On-Demand Hot Water Heaters
The BFC main cabin, which houses our volunteers, could use two on- demand hot water heaters in order to save energy and space. These energy efficient water heaters could shave 25% off our gas bill each month. Also they will allow us room to make another bathroom, so our volunteers don't have to form a waiting line to use our current one bathroom.

If you can help, please make a secure online donation and specify that it is for the water heaters, or send a check or money order (no cash please) to BFC-Maintenance, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.

If you have questions or would like more detail, please contact BFC Maintenance Coordinator Chip by phone at 406-646-0070 or by email.

Thank you!!
* Mark Your Calendars: Wood Cut Week, Sept. 14-20
Join Buffalo Field Campaign in beautiful West Yellowstone the week of September 14-20, and help gather, stack and cut the wood that will keep volunteers warm and alive this coming field season. Room and board will be provided. Please contact Mike at mease"at"wildrockies.org or 406-646-0070 if you are interested. Please let your friends know - the more the merrier! Chain saws are welcome!
* Last Words
"Cattle passed the brucella virus to wild bison more than a century ago. While these same bison mix freely with cattle in Wyoming without consequence, Montana refuses even to accord bison the status of "wildlife" unless it is for the purpose of allowing them to be shot at close range by hunters. Now that brucellosis is endemic to Montana's wildlife, what is the point of preventing bison from roaming freely with elk in our wildlife refuges and on our public wildlands? ...Here's a simple win-win solution that reflects real Montana values: Make livestock owners responsible for livestock disease control, and manage public wildlands for native wildlife.... "

Excerpt from a strong Op-Ed by BFC Board member and Montana director of Western Watersheds Project Tom Woodbury. The Op-Ed was published in the Missoulian newspaper this week.
Read the full piece.
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2008-2009 Total: 22
2008-2009 Slaughter: 3
2008-2009 Hunt: 1
2008-2009 Quarantine: 0
2008-2009 Shot by Agents: 2
2008-2009 Highway Mortality: 16
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,702*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities
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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 U.S.

Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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