* Update from the Field
A breathtaking view from Sandy Butte, inside Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dana, BFC volunteer.
Buffalo Field Campaign patrols have been enjoying some amazing wildlife experiences. On a recent patrol into Yellowstone National Park while watching ravens far in the distance from the heights of Sandy Butte, volunteers spotted three black wolves near the elk kill site we mentioned last week. They were very far away, and visible only through binoculars, so we were not able to get photos to share with you. Even from far away, the wolves were very aware of our presence and watched us closely while we were there. On another patrol along the Madison River, BFC skiers spotted a solitary wolf who seemed determined to enjoy some Trumpeter swan for lunch. Red fox, elk, otters, and eagles have been showing themselves recently, and so have quite a number of moose.
Moose are very interesting creatures. They may seem a little goofy and awkward, but they can, in fact, be quite dangerous and require a lot of space. Unfortunately, moose, like all area wildlife, must try to survive the Yellowstone ecosystem's harsh winters while being enveloped in the constant noise of recreational snowmobilers. These experiences can be very trying for all wildlife, but moose especially demonstrate their agitation and sometimes show that they are fed up with humans.
On a patrol the other day, we were about to go for a reconnaissance along the north bluffs of the Madison River, a favored migration corridor for buffalo and other wildlife. We spotted a young bull moose about fifty yards from where we were going to begin our trek, which happened to be right next to a snowmobile route. The first volunteer gave the moose a very wide and respectful berth, but the moose had apparently been bothered a lot that morning, and he made a bee-line for the volunteer. We shouted a heads-up to the volunteer, but the moose pursued, and the volunteer had to turn and quickly move to safety. Thankfully, all ended well. The moose, after establishing his strong - and understandable - desire to be rid of humans, went his way, and we chose another route to give him the space he needed.
Buffalo migration has yet to begin, even with the significant snowfall we experienced last week. No hunters have been seen in the area either. Montana's buffalo hunt season will be over in about a month, and we are hopeful that it will remain quiet for our shaggy friends. When buffalo do begin their migration, they will find some of their habitat improved; Buffalo Field Campaign will be removing a significant stretch of barbed wire fence on the Gallatin National Forest along land adjacent to Duck Creek, which is a favored migration corridor for bull bison. Too many times BFC has documented buffalo being run into this fence during hazing operations. Removal of the fence should also help keep buffalo off of Highway 287, since they will have a much easier time accessing this habitat. This area was once a public lands cattle grazing allotment and has been vacant for years. The Forest Service finally permanently closed it to cattle, and tomorrow, BFC will lend a hand to free the land so that buffalo and other wildlife will no longer have to negotiate this cruel stretch of wired injustice.
* Buffalo Field Campaign to Auction Colorado Ski Trip
The winner of this auction will receive six nights of lodging in a Gold-Plus rated, four-bedroom, 3-bath condominium 500 yards from the base of the Silver Queen ski lift, eight ski lift tickets courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and more than 700 dollars worth of ski clothing from Patagonia. 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the front-lines work of Buffalo Field Campaign, the only group working in the field and on the policy front to permanently protect the Yellowstone bison, America's only continuously wild herd.
Retail value of this package is more than $5,987.
The auction will begin on Monday, January 18.
For more information, please click here.
* Thank You for Commenting for Quarantined Yellowstone Buffalo
Enormous thanks to all to all who sent in comments encouraging Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to place quarantined Yellowstone buffalo on public or tribal lands, rather than allowing them to go to the private ranch of Ted Turner. A public meeting was held by FWP in Bozeman, Montana last week, and the public was overwhelmingly in support of these buffalo being given a home on state, federal or tribal land. While it is true that Ted Turner has done some great things for animals on his private acres, the privatization of public Yellowstone bison would set a horrible precedent, it violates the public trust and it clearly goes against the stated goals of the Quarantine Feasibility Study. FWP would like the public to believe that the only choices for these buffalo are Turner or slaughter, but this is simply not true, as many tribes have expressed strong interest in receiving the animals, and there are also many thousands of acres of public land in Montana where they could live out their lives respectfully. If you sent in comments, you should hear directly from FWP regarding their decision, and, of course, we will be sure to inform you as soon as we know.
* Ask the Discovery Channel to Show Buffalo Battle
Good news! Planet Green has reported that the premiere of Buffalo Battle received good ratings, which means this could help get a series off the ground! We have been hearing from many of you that you have been unable to watch Buffalo Battle because you are not able to get Planet Green. Planet Green is owned by the Discovery Channel, which is more widely available to TV viewers. We are encouraging folks to contact The Discovery Channel and ask them to carry Buffalo Battle so it can be seen by more people. Please take a moment to get in touch with The Discovery Channel's Viewer Relations department and ask them to bring Buffalo Battle to a wider audience. Thank you all for tuning in!
* Support a Wish for Buffalo Field Campaign
Big thanks for the recent in-kind donations of items represented on Buffalo Field Campaign's Wish List! We are always in need of various equipment to keep our office, field patrols and kitchen functional, so see if there's anything you can help us with by taking a moment to visit our Wish List. All donations are tax deductible and treasured! Thank you!
* Last Words
"One thing I have learned over the years is that the impossible can be possible and superior odds are to be looked at as a challenge to overcome. It does not matter what the strength of the enemy is. What matters is the determination of our opposition to the enemy. They fight for money, we fight for life. They are motivated by greed and we are motivated by a passionate compassion. [We] have more courage and determination and that is what will make the difference once again. "
~ Hans Lak, Sea Shepherd Volunteer
Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org. Thank you all for the poems, songs 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