Buffalo on a winter morning. BFC file photo.
* Update from the Field
The absence of buffalo in Montana leaves us with little to report from the field this week. Patrols continue to monitor the buffalo's traditional migration corridors every day, and while we do expect spring migration to begin soon - and with it aggressive actions from the Montana Department of Livestock - the lands surrounding Yellowstone National Park are sadly haunting without the company of wild buffalo.
In other news impacting America's last wild buffalo population, Montana's state vet, Marty Zaluski, has announced that brucellosis vaccines will become mandatory for all domestic female calves (cattle) that are sexually intact. This is a very small, but highly appropriate step for ranchers to take and one that makes perfect sense. Brucellois is a European livestock disease brought to this country's native wildlife by invasive cattle, though, you'll always hear the media and livestock industry spin it to make it sound like bison and elk are "the problem." Vaccinating cattle against brucelloisis is a small risk-management action that should be willingly taken by all Montana cattle producers. It's a no-brainer, and far preferable to the slaughter and mismanagement of America's last wild buffalo. In a state that claims to feel so threatened by the brucellosis boogey-man, you would think ranchers would jump at the chance to vaccinate their cattle. But, of course, the proposed rule is being fought by the majority of Montana's cattle industry, who like things the way they are: blame native wildlife, harass and kill them, and have U.S. taxpayers foot the bill.
Meanwhile, Buffalo Field Campaign's Mike Mease and Darrell Geist are in Eugene, Oregon, attending the 28th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. BFC has attended and spoken at this conference for many years and will once again reach hundreds of people - many of them environmental lawyers - with the buffalo's story. Though it takes time, the more people we continue to reach, the number of people who are touched by the buffalo will rise, and that brings us closer to positive change.
* NEW BFC Video! Why bison do not belong on Turner's ranch
Buffalo Field Campaign recently produced a new video in response to the unfortunate and precedent-setting decision by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to send quarantined buffalo to Ted Turner's private buffalo ranch. This is an excellent piece, though we should let you know that some portions are disturbing.
Watch the video. Please spread it far and wide.
Many thanks to Mike and Tony for producing this excellent and important video.
* Take an Online Poll for the Buffalo!
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the local paper in our region of southwest Montana, hosts an online poll each week. This week America's last wild buffalo need you to respond:
QUESTION: "Do you think the state's Department of Livestock should go ahead with its current plan to haze, capture and possibly slaughter bison that leave Yellowstone National Park?"
Visit this link, scroll down to the bottom-right of the page, and VOTE NO!
So far, votes are ahead for the buffalo. Please keep it going!
* Last Words
"As environmental activists, we must recover from the damage inflicted on our communities, our nations, and our planet, renew our determination for and commitment to positive change, and reimagine how we shall move forward into the new century and toward future generations."
~ Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, 2010
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