* Thank You Buffalo Friends!
Bull bison in blizzard. BFC file photo courtesy of supporter K. Kaiser.
Out here on the Yellowstone boundary, bearing witness to the harsh government treatment of America's only continuously wild population of bison, it can sometimes seem as if we are alone in our struggle to stop the slaughter. Your actions remind us that we are not.
Your response to our year-end funding plea has been incredible. Thanks to your donations we have exceeded the $75,000 goal necessary for us to qualify for the Earth Friends Challenge Grant. Donations, merchandise orders, and letters of encouragement continue to pour into our mailbox from all corners of the country and the the world. Your support literally makes our work for the bison possible, and we can not express enough how much it means to us. THANK YOU!
* Update from the Field
Happy New Year to all of our buffalo friends! It has been a good start to the new decade for the buffalo; things have remained quiet in the field and, save for the one bull bison killed on Horse Butte, Montana's bison "hunt" has been uneventful thus far.
After an unseasonably dry beginning, the snow has finally started falling in earnest. Over the course of the last two days we've gotten nearly two feet! While breathtakingly beautiful, the snow definitely brings challenges, especially when it falls all at once. We are spending lots of time plowing and shoveling around our headquarters. Our snow plow is really old, but it's holding up and helping to clear paths so our two barely-working patrol vehicles can make it down the driveway to transport volunteers into the field. Patrols must now ski or snowshoe to get around, or risk being immediately exhausted by post-holing through the deep cold powder. Our supply of skis has been used well over the last thirteen seasons in the field, which means a lot of wear and tear and wanting for working equipment.
The snow may also inspire the buffalo to migrate to lower elevation lands, so we are keeping close watch along Yellowstone's boundary throughout the buffalo's migration corridors.
We are constantly reminded of how very lucky we are to keep company with buffalo, elk, moose, eagles, ravens, coyotes, fox and many other of the Yellowstone ecosystem's amazing creatures. Last week, during a trek into Yellowstone, patrols were blessed with a rare and remarkable experience: they came across the fresh carcass of an old bull elk that had just been taken by wolves. Patrols were able to spot one of the wolves before it quickly retreated into the willows. The tracks surrounding the elk offered a rare, storied gift of the dramatic life-and-death dance, so rich in Nature's poetry of expression. Wolf song has also been heard from the cabin, which is a thrill of mystery to everyone. We are so blessed to live among these wonderful, wild creatures and give thanks every day for their continued existence.
While the field has been quiet for the buffalo, there's been a small flurry of activity on the policy front, so please read on and take action for wild buffalo! Buffalo Battle will also air again on Planet Green late tonight and tomorrow, so check your local listings and invite your friends to watch with you.
Here's to hoping that 2010 is a good year and the beginning of a great decade for the buffalo, and you, our extended buffalo family.
* TAKE ACTION! Comment on FWP Bison Quarantine Proposal
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has released a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on the translocation of quarantined Yellowstone bison and is seeking your input through January 12, 2010.
FWP's preferred alternative outlines the agency's intention to hand over 74 Yellowstone bison to billionaire Ted Turner, setting the dangerous precedent of commercializing public bison. BFC has strongly opposed quarantine, alternatively advocating for wild bison to be naturally restored on their historic range via protected habitat and migration corridors. That said, it is important that bison advocates try to help these quarantined Yellowstone buffalo get out of captivity and be released onto public and/or tribal lands, as was the stated goal of the Quarantine Feasibility Study.
Learn more and TAKE ACTION NOW!
Comments are due January 12, 2010. For those who can travel, FWP will hold a public meeting on this issue Thursday, January 7, at 6pm at their Region 3 office in Bozeman, Montana, 1400 S. 19th Avenue. Comments will also be accepted at this meeting. Hope to see you there!
Alternatively, you may mail your comments to:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
* Great Work! Your Messages Get Response from Governor Schweitzer
In December, while giving a speech to the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer proudly said: "No governor in Montana history has sent more bison to slaughter than this governor."
You all were terrific in letting him know right away that Montana and Yellowstone's shameful slaughter and mistreatment of America's last wild bison population is nothing to brag about, but indeed a disgrace to the nation and the world. In fact, he received so many letters from bison advocates, he had his staff draft a response, which many of you have shared with us. If you haven't seen it, you can read it here.
Granted, his letter is a sorry political spin that attempts to sugar coat the truth of the thousands of bison killed, harmed and harassed under Schweitzer's rule as Governor. He tries to claim that bison are left alone during the harsh winter months, but that is totally untrue because in lieu of hazing, bison are now hunted when they cross Montana's borders, and sometimes the hazing continues during the hunt. And you have seen what the war zone approach to hazing in May looks like, with calves suffering broken legs and being separated from mothers, adults being injured, and Montana's landscapes being robbed of the presence of bison. We all know from first-hand experience and BFC's documentation that wild buffalo still "enjoy" no tolerance in Montana, even on Horse Butte where cattle are never present. Ironically, Schweitzer's letter also sites the quarantine project and how disease-free bison will be sent "to conservation herds," yet Schweitzer himself encouraged private interest Ted Turner to apply for the quarantined buffalo, so he is responsible for trying to privatize America's wildlife.
The point is, you put the pressure on Schweitzer's administration, and they responded. GREAT WORK! Please continue to keep the pressure on, and if you are not from Montana, let Schweitzer know that you will not come to Montana unless it is to help the buffalo or until they roam free again.
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Building
P.O. Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801
Fax: 1-406-444 5529
* Buffalo Battle Airs Again Tonight & Thursday, Jan. 7
Tune in because it's on again! Late tonight and on Thursday, January 7th, Discovery's Planet Green will once again air Buffalo Battle. This Planet Green program, produced by Matthew Testa, tells the continuing story about the plight of the Yellowstone bison population and work of Buffalo Field Campaign. Buffalo Battle has been getting tremendously positive feedback, so Planet Green is giving the public more viewing opportunities. The more viewers they get, the more likely it is they'll want to make a series and this will certainly help tell the world about what is happening to the last wild buffalo. Please check your local listings for showtimes and invite your friends and colleagues to watch Buffalo Battle with you late tonight and again on Thursday, January 7th. For more information visit Planet Green.
* Ski & Ski Boot Donations Needed
Winter has arrived in earnest, and has delivered several feet of snow in a very short amount of time! Skiing and snowshoeing is a must now, and our supply of skis and ski boots are old and quickly reaching the point of disrepair, which is preventing some folks from getting out into the field. If you can help us with skis (three pins are great) or ski boots (three pin and large sizes especially), please contact our gear coordinator, Lobo, at firstname.lastname@example.org. BFC is always in need of certain items, so please check our Wish List for items you may be able to help us with. All donations -in-kind and monetary- are tax-deductible and very much appreciated. Thank You!!
* Last Words
"Power concedes nothing without demand"
~ Written in 1857 by Frederick Douglas (1818-1895)
Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org. Thank you all for the poems, songs, quotes and stories you have been sending; you'll see them here!
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2009-2010 Total: 1
2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 1
2009-2010 Quarantine: 0
2009-2010 Shot by Agents: 0
2009-2010 Highway Mortality: 0
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,703*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities