* Groups File Lawsuit Against FWP Turner Decision
Good news! On Tuesday, BFC with other buffalo advocates filed a lawsuit against Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) for their decision to house quarantined Yellowstone buffalo where they can not be accessed by the public on Turner Enterprises Incorporated's (TEI) Green Ranch, and for FWP's decision to pay TEI with the offspring of these buffalo that began their lives as wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. We assert that FWP's decision violates the public trust, and goes against their promise that all bison, including offspring, would be managed as public wildlife and could never be privatized or commercialized. Currently, the public has no access to these buffalo and we are unable to monitor their condition or ensure their welfare.
On Tuesday, BFC learned that FWP did not send 88 buffalo to Turner's. They sent 87: one adult female that was not pregnant was kept behind at the Corwin Springs quarantine facility. We further learned that a day or two after the 87 buffalo arrived at Turner's, a calf died. Turner's ranch manager claims that the calf was sick and orphaned, but why would FWP send a calf in this condition out of quarantine, what was wrong with it, and what happened to its mother? BFC will continue to investigate. The incident, which happened over a month ago without notification to the public, is a clear demonstration of FWP's lack of disclosure, and underscores the need for the public to have access to these bison.
Many heartfelt thanks go out to our partners in the lawsuit: Western Watersheds Project, Gallatin Wildlife Association and the Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation. You are all steadfast and true bison advocates and we are honored and grateful to fight the good fight with you!
Learn more about the Bison Quarantine Lawsuit.
* Update from the Field
Buffalo family on the move. Photo by Kim Kaiser, BFC supporter.
Buffalo migration has begun! The buffalo are coming and we celebrate their arrival; it is a very exciting time of year. Beautiful, healthy family groups with buffalo of all ages and sizes are migrating through the Madison Valley river corridor, many of them round-bellied with the budding gift of the next generation. The buffalo are making their way along the lands that are their birthright, heading to their favorite spring habitat and calving grounds. We feel blessed to be in their presence again. "You, oh Buffalo, are the Earth! May we understand this!" (Lakota Sun Dance prayer)
This is tempered, however, as we know that harm from livestock interests await the buffalo. The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) has promised to be even less tolerant this year, and we've already seen what their so-called tolerance looks like. Multiple DOL agents are currently in town. BFC volunteers are ready to stand with the buffalo and defend their right to roam free, documenting all actions made against them and sharing everything we learn with you, the media, and the decision-makers that can help make a difference.
Bull buffalo may soon be targets of other dangerous government action: The Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), with very little notice to the public, released an Environmental Assessment on their proposal to immobilize (dart with drugs) bull bison on Gallatin National Forest in order to study their semen and blood. There are many reasons why this futile and frivolous study should be rejected. Comments are due Friday, but BFC encourages everyone to continue to send comments.
Learn more and PLEASE TAKE ACTION FOR BULL BUFFALO NOW!
BFC is also a strong presence on the highways right now, warning motorists with our "Buffalo Ahead" and "Buffalo Crossing" signs of the presence of these massive land mammals as they make their way to Horse Butte and other habitat outside of Yellowstone's ecologically meaningless boundaries. We have also contacted the MT Department of Transportation and Governor's office, appealing to them for help in warning motorists to mitigate bison/vehicle collisions. The Governor's office has promised that action will be taken.
The sun rises and sets every day, the moon waxes and wanes, the seasons turn around the wheel of the year, as the tides ebb and flow... and the buffalo will roam!
* Buffalo on Capitol Hill: Contact Congress Today!
Please ask your members of Congress to support habitat-based solutions for America's last wild buffalo. First, check the appropriations roster to see if your member of Congress sits on one of two subcommittees that oversee how your tax dollars are spent.
If you don't see them listed there, contact them through this link.
Let Congress know that you want buffalo and their native habitat protected.
Communicate your strong support for wild buffalo to Congress by asking them to:
1. Stop using your tax dollars to fund Montana Department of Livestock and Yellowstone National Park operations that harm or lead to the slaughter of wild buffalo.
2. Use your tax dollars wisely by purchasing livestock grazing rights on land adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, which will open habitat for wild buffalo and other native wildlife forever.
For more detailed information on how to persuade Congress, you can review BFC's comments to House members who oversee taxpayer funding affecting America's last wild buffalo.
Thank you for supporting the buffalo and BFC's efforts on Capitol Hill!
* Thank you Jackson Browne and David Lindley, Guacamole Productions, and Equal Exchange!
BFC Supporters will have a special opportunity to see Jackson Browne with David Lindley perform on August 3 in Bozeman, MT and to meet Jackson Browne in person after the show. Tickets are available now! For more information, and for a link to purchasing these special tickets, please click here. This benefit opportunity was made possible by our good friends at the Guacamole Fund and through the good will of the artists.
In addition to the thousands of individuals who keep BFC strong in the field and on the policy front through their contributions, we are incredibly blessed to receive support from a growing number of dedicated businesses. This week we would like to send a loud shout of thanks to Equal Exchange for the incredibly generous donation of 30 pounds of fair trade coffee and 3,000 chocolates to keep our volunteers powered up and happy!
Please visit BFC's Business Support web page for a partial list of the many companies who help keep BFC strong. If your business isn't listed and should be, please email email@example.com and we'll get you up there.
* Survey: What's the Future for Wild Bison in Montana?
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) wants to hear from you about your ideas and perspectives on restoring wild bison in Montana without fences. It is important that wild bison advocates everywhere participate in this survey.
Learn more and take the survey now! Thank You!
* A Call Out for Experienced BFC Volunteers: Please Come Home!
Hey all you buffalovers,
It is that exciting time of year again on the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park. The bison migration has begun! BFC volunteers are currently in the field before sun up and until well after dark monitoring the highways and landscape. We have an amazing crew of people this year; new and dedicated volunteers to document the government's harassment of our shaggy friends, the buffalo. However, we are spreading the few experienced volunteers very thin filling out patrols. This is a call to any and all experienced volunteers to return to the land of the last wild bison and join us again in our efforts to stop the harassment and slaughter. The DOL has said in so many words, there will be less tolerance this season (as if there had ever been more tolerance). We need to maintain a constant presence and pressure in the field, and we need your experience to do that. Please quit your jobs, drop out of school, and do whatever you have to do to come home to the Buffalo Field Campaign! You can contact me at volunteer"at"buffalofieldcampaign.org or 406-646-0070.
Buffalo Field Campaign
* Last Words
"The whole world is coming,
A nation is coming, a nation is coming
The Eagle has brought the message to the tribe,
The father says so, the father says so.
Over the whole earth they are coming,
The Buffalo are coming, the Buffalo are coming,
The Crow has brought the message to the tribe,
The father says so, the father says so."
~ Lakota Ghost Dance Song
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: 4
2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 4
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: 3,706*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities