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Weekly Update from the Field July 16, 2009
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* Obama Signals Change for National Parks; Names New Director
* Earth Friends Wildlife Foundation Offers Challenge to BFC Supporters, Funding to BFC
* Federal Government Reinstates Montana's Brucellosis-free Status
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

photo 2009 courtesy of Lance Koudele

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* Update from the Field: Obama Signals Change for National Parks; Names New Director
Last Friday, July 10, was a potentially momentous day for America's only population of continuously wild bison. In a move that could end the National Park Service's role in the slaughter of thousands of bison, President Obama nominated Jon Jarvis to fill the currently vacant post of National Park Service (NPS) Director.

Jarvis, a 30-year NPS veteran, has served as Superintendent of Mount Rainier and Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks as well as Craters of the Moon National Monument. Since 2002 he has been the Director of the NPS' Pacific Northwest Regional Office, where he earned a reputation as a defender of the NPS Organic Act mandate to preserve "unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations."

During the Bush years Jarvis risked his career by vocally opposing administration attempts to weaken the Organic Act to allow for more resource-extractive park policies. In April he testified before Congress on human-induced climate change, which he said, "challenges the very foundation of the National Park System and our ability to leave America's natural and cultural heritage unimpaired for future generations."

In light of the winter of 2008, when the Park Service slaughtered more than 1,400 wild bison from within Yellowstone National Park, it is hard to imagine a more imperiled natural or cultural icon than the bison. In naming Jarvis as NPS director, President Obama has sent a strong signal that the Park Service's era of pandering to industrial interests at the expense of park resources is coming to an end. As The New York Times suggested in an editorial earlier this week (see "Last Words" below) Jarvis' first act should be to replace Suzanne Lewis as Superintendent of Yellowstone. Replacing Lewis, who oversaw the slaughter of more than 2,800 wild bison to appease Montana's livestock industry, would be a quick and effective way for Jarvis to convey his intentions for the parks under his care and realign the park service with its mission.
* Earth Friends Wildlife Foundation Offers Challenge to BFC Supporters, Funding to BFC
If you are on our mailing list, you should have received BFC's 2009 Newsletter by now. If you did, you're probably aware of the Earth Friends Challenge Grant, an incredible opportunity for BFC to raise much-needed funds and for supporters to increase the value of your donations.

The Earth Friends Wildlife Foundation has agreed to provide Buffalo Field Campaign a much-needed grant if we are able to raise $75,000 among our community of supporters. While this may seem like a daunting task in these difficult times, it is important to remember that the majority of our annual budget comes from individual supporters like you who value wild bison, want to see them treated with respect, and understand the importance of BFC's field, outreach, and policy work to protect America's only continuously wild population of bison.

With the number and amount of donations down in recent months, and with foundation grants on a sharp decline, the Earth Friends Challenge couldn't come at a better time. Many nonprofits have been forced to close their doors in the past year and countless others have had to scale back on their programs. Buffalo Field Campaign, accustomed to accomplishing a great deal on a shoestring budget and on the brink of achieving many of our goals for the bison, cannot afford to scale back now.

Please DONATE NOW, and help BFC meet the Challenge offered by the Earth Friends Wildlife Foundation.
* Federal Government Reinstates Montana's Brucellosis-free Status
On Friday, July 10, Montana was declared "brucellosis-free" by the US Department of Agriculture. The state had lost its status in 2008 after brucellosis was detected in two cattle herds. In neither case, nor in earlier cases in Wyoming and Idaho, were bison responsible for the infections.

Brucellosis, a cattle disease native to Europe, has been present in Yellowstone wildlife since at least the first decades of the 20th century. While the disease has little, if any, effect on Yellowstone bison, it is used as an excuse by Montana's powerful livestock industry to kill bison that cross the Yellowstone/Montana border and enter the state. Despite the fact that wild bison have never transmitted the disease to cattle, Montana has adopted a zero-tolerance, kill-on-sight policy that has resulted in the slaughter of more than 6,600 wild bison since 1985.

The purported reason for this archaic policy is to protect the state's brucellosis-free status and save cattle producers the cost of extra testing procedures. Yet the bison slaughter didn't prevent the state from losing its coveted status and in one of the many great ironies associated with Montana's bison management, the additional costs of losing the status amount to less than the cost of slaughtering and keeping buffalo out of Montana. The Montana legislature approved $2.4 million to reimburse ranchers for the additional testing requirements while the Bison Management Plan costs upwards of $3 million per year, gives the state a black eye in the national media, and jeopardizes the future of America's only continuously wild population of bison.
* Last Words
Newly nominated Park Service Director Jon Jarvis "should begin by replacing Suzanne Lewis, the superintendent of Yellowstone, who is doing the legacy work of the Bush administration…"
-- New York Times editorial, July 14, 2009

Read the editorial in it's entirety HERE.
* 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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BFC is the only group working in the field every day in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.

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