* Update from the Field
Mama buffalo near Rainbow Point Road, with comrades in the background. BFC file photo by Stephany.
April in Yellowstone's high country tends to bring all four seasons together at once: blizzards, warm sunshine, powerful winds, enormous dark clouds, blue skies and rain all make their appearances in a day, sometimes all at once. Calving season has recently begun and volunteers are being blessed with special signs that the next generation of wild buffalo is on its way. It is no wonder that such weather would accompany the birthing time of this sacred species.
A formidable threat awaits these buffalo. Not the natural predator of bear, wolf, or lion, but the beast of greed that takes human shape: government agents unjustly catering to livestock interests will soon arrive with harmful intentions to force these buffalo - with horse, ATV, truck, helicopter and law enforcement - off of their native habitat in Montana. On Monday, BFC witnessed the season's first harassment operation as Montana Department of Livestock's Shane Grube and Jim Smolzynski, local game warden for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, hazed a group of 18 buffalo off of a section of their migration corridor along the lands south of the Madison River. There is a small private ranch there, but no cattle will arrive until late June. This one private cattle pasture, one landowner, drives the government's shameful mistreatment of America's last wild buffalo on this portion of their habitat.
A victim of APHIS's "study," drugged and donning a blue stripe. Click here for a larger image. BFC file photo by Cindy.
The USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has victimized more bull buffalo since we last wrote. At least eleven bulls have been molested by APHIS on Gallatin National Forest lands west of Yellowstone. A total of sixteen have so far been targeted in Gardiner, north of the Park. Most of the bulls APHIS has drugged and violated were originally in family groups or bull groups, but days after APHIS left the bulls, they've yet to re-join their comrades. The drugs APHIS is using to wake the bulls back up causes anxiety, anger and excitement that can last for several days. The bulls are left humiliated and confused, and likely in pain from the enormous anal probe. Yesterday, a resident of the town of West Yellowstone let us know he spotted one of these "blue striped bulls" wandering through a housing area.
It has been agonizing and frustrating for volunteers to document APHIS's actions. Tensions toward these so-called scientists have risen with each bull we witness being drugged, violated, and painted. APHIS has called in law enforcement now, refusing to talk to us, ignoring accountability for their invasive, unwelcome, and needless actions against the buffalo. At the time of this writing, our stand-by patrol was called out because APHIS was seen near Horse Butte. It is safe to assume more buffalo are being invasively dishonored today. The lack of integrity and need for APHIS' study is strongly underscored by Yellowstone National Park's refusal to issue them permits to conduct this research inside the Park. Check our web site this weekend for a new video from BFC about what APHIS is doing to these bulls.
Please contact the lead participants in this APHIS bull bison study and tell them to stop molesting bull bison!
1. Dr. Ryan Clark: Patrick.R.Clarke@aphis.usda.gov / 406-388-5162
2. Becky Frey, Dr. Clark's Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org / 406-522-7770
On a brighter note, and one that has direct positive results for buffalo and other area wildlife, BFC has resumed habitat improvement projects along Gallatin National Forest's Duck Creek migration corridor. We began our "off-fence, de-fence" project with the removal of barbed wire this winter, and now BFC has begun pulling up the fence posts. The transition from an imprisoned landscape to open area is a beautiful breath of fresh air! We've had the pleasure of seeing some bull groups and mixed groups of buffalo using this now fenceless area, with no barbed wire for them to get cut by or tangled in. One day, not too far from now, the management scheme and mad science that binds the buffalo will also be removed.
* NEW BFC VIDEO: Pokin' Fun at the Government-Run Buffalo Slaughter
Offering some comic relief, Will McKillum gives his comment at the Interagency Bison Management Plan meeting on April 14, 2010. As a member of Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, he gave a satirical speech arguing that the livestock industry hasn't gone far enough in its persecution of wild buffalo. Enjoy this new video from BFC and share it with others! Thank you Will McKillum!
* Share BFC's YouTube Videos: Spread the Word to Save the Herds
This is a call to those who would like to volunteer at home or at work: BFC has a growing number of videos on YouTube (over 80 and growing), of our footage from the field that shows how the government and livestock industry is harming America's last wild buffalo. These videos are a terrific way to spread the word about what's happening to America's last continuously wild population of buffalo!
There are different ways to get these messages out there:
* Emailing YouTube links to family, friends, co-workers, etc.
* Posting on your Facebook or Myspace profile
* Search for various blogs and news sites that may be interested in posting some of the BFC content and email them a link
* Search for people in various arenas that may not be informed, but would want to help; veterinarians, historical societies, foundations, writers, conservation groups, Native American communities and youth organizations, etc.
Visit this link or search YouTube for BFCMEDIA, and use your imagination for different ways to help spread the word to save the herds! Thank you!!
* Spend an Evening with Jackson Browne & Help Buffalo Field Campaign
Buffalo Field Campaign supporters have a special opportunity to see Jackson Browne with David Lindley on August 3 at Montana State University in Bozeman. Proceeds from these special tickets to some of the best seats in the house allow you to meet Jackson Browne in person after the show. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here.
* BFC Looking for Summer Education Volunteers
Buffalo Field Campaign still has a few openings for summer education and outreach volunteers. If you can commit to spending three weeks with us, most of which will be spent inside Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, to help educate Park visitors about what's happening to America's last wild buffalo, please get in touch! Drop a line to volunteer"at"buffalofieldcampaign.org or call 406-646-0070 with questions or to apply. Thank you!
* Last Words
"The buffalo ran at us as if we were family separated in tragedy and at last reunited in the most harmonious of gatherings. Each of our movements is slow and quiet driven by our hearts as not to overwhelm our surroundings. We breathe gently amidst our friends, gathering feelings of heartache and distress over our separation tossing them behind us. We are free now and stand as one again. Our smiles fill the blue skies and our play shakes the ground beneath us... This is why we are here... To emanate this vision, this experience, from within Yellowstone clear out over its borders with stampeding force back into the Great Plains, to the Florida Peninsula, to our growing allies in the east, throughout Appalachia, and beyond our fictional, political, and arbitrary boundaries to settle as seeds yearning to germinate on the vast lands of the North American continent. We are with the bison and the bison with us to see that this vision, these seeds, take root."
~ Tristam Coffin, BFC Volunteer, 2007
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 mortality