* Update from the Field
Wild bison were chased off of their native habitat this and last week by government agents.
BFC file photo by Stephany.
The stillness of summer has been shaken by the Montana Department of Livestock's helicopter and horsemen. DOL hazing activities, which included participation from Yellowstone National Park and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, resumed on Friday along the southern banks of the Madison River, within the public lands of Gallatin National Forest. Since escaping the cowboy escapades that terrorized Yellowstone's western edge into mid-June, a very small mixed group of America's last wild buffalo found quiet refuge on the buffalo-friendly lands of the Galanis family. They recently continued their migration and were discovered by DOL agents. On Friday, the DOL's helicopter was in the air and its horsemen were on the ground to haze the buffalo from their native habitat. Agents returned again today, attempting to dislodge the buffalo from the landscape. The agencies' excuse that these actions are being taken to "protect" cattle from the threat of a brucellosis transmission is absolutely hollow; after June 15 there is no risk, and any risk at all is only theoretical since there's never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting the livestock disease, brucellosis, back to the cattle they got it from. Of course, actions taken against the buffalo are not based on sound science, but on the politics that defend the interests of the livestock industry. It's the politics of hoarding grass for cows at the expense of America's last continuously wild bison.
These senseless hazing operations should make for a lively discussion when the Interagency Bison Management agencies come to West Yellowstone to tour some of the lands where the buffalo attempt to roam. If you live in Montana, are visiting Yellowstone, or can travel to West Yellowstone or Bozeman, please consider attending one or all of these important events. On August 10, the IBMP agencies will tour some of the private lands that create the major conflict zones for wild buffalo. The tour is open to the public. Later that evening, from 5:15 - 7:00 pm, the Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo will host a buffalo public forum in West Yellowstone that all are welcome to attend, an event organized specifically to educate local candidates. The following day, the IBMP agencies will hold a public meeting in Bozeman to further discuss bison management. People who can make it are encouraged to attend these important events. For more information about the IBMP tour and meeting, please visit http://ibmp.info/meetings.php. If you would like more information about the public forum, please contact Karrie Taggart at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to attend these events, rest assured that we will keep you informed.
Summer tabling continues in Yellowstone and the bison rut season will soon be starting. Herds will gather from all directions in a timeless tradition of a buffalo family reunion. During the rut, bulls will show their strength and challenge one another for the attention of receptive females. The roar of what could be dragons will echo through the valley. If you're lucky enough to be in Yellowstone during this time, enjoy the celebration of the buffalo rut, but please keep your distance and give the bulls a lot of space! They have just one thing on their minds this time of year and anything that's not a female buffalo might be viewed as a challenger. Stay safe, have fun, and take photos for the next wild buffalo calendar! And please share the buffalo's story with everyone you know: spread the word to save these sacred herds!
* No Vaccinating Wild Bison! Yellowstone Extends Public Comment Period
Don't let this buffalo and her calf become victims of Yellowstone's proposed bison vaccination plan! Please take action by sending in your comments today. BFC file photo by Stephany.
Good news! Yellowstone National Park recently announced that they have extended the public comment period for their misguided bison vaccination proposal until September 24, 2010. It is very important that the Park hear from you about this unfortunate plan to shoot wild buffalo with a brucellosis vaccine that was designed for cattle and is unsafe for buffalo. The vaccine is ineffective, costly, harmful, intrusive and culturally unacceptable. Please tell the Park you do not approve of vaccinating wild buffalo, and instead, request that Yellowstone develop an alternative that focuses on managing cattle to keep them off of the buffalo's native habitat.
Take action today! And please spread the word to save these herds!
BFC and our partners Western Watersheds Project have submitted official comments which are up on this site for your review. Thank you for taking this action to help America's last continuously wild buffalo.
* Volunteers Needed! Woodcut Week & Summer Outreach
BFC will be hosting our annual Woodcut Week from September 6-12, 2010 and we need your help to gather, haul, cut, and stack the firewood that will keep our volunteers warm all winter. Please make plans to join us for a week of good hard work, tasty meals, friendship, and nights around the BFC campfire.
We are also in need of education and outreach volunteers to staff our tables in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks from now through August 8 and August 29 through September 5.
For more information on these volunteer opportunities, please contact Mike Mease at mease"at"wildrockies.org or at 406-646-0070.
* Bison Advocates Tour Two Livestock Grazing Allotments Critical for Wild Bison
Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project, finds bison fur (in hand) in the South Fork cattle grazing allotment the Gallatin National Forest is poised to renew. Jim MacDonald, BAB looks on. BFC file photo by Darrell.
Bison have repeatedly ventured to the South Fork of the Madison River only to be shot or forced to flee an onslaught of Montana Dept. of Livestock agents, and other agencies working on their behalf.
Susan Lamont, Vegetation management Hebgen Lake Ranger District, pointing out cows trampling Watkins Creek, westslope cutthroat trout habitat. BFC file photo by Darrell.
The Interagency Bison Management Plan agencies classified the South Fork as Zone 3 due to the presence of cattle. Wild bison are prohibited from occupying any habitat in Zone 3, at any time of year, despite the fact bison migrate to these habitats, which include Gallatin National Forest lands.
Randy Swilling, wildlife biologist Hebgen Lake Ranger District, Matt Skoglund, Natural Resources Defense Council, looking over bison habitat in the South Fork. BFC file photo by Darrell. Click here for larger image.
Bryan S. Finkle and Mary E. Deyman Trustees have asked the Gallatin National Forest to renew their permits to graze cattle on the South Fork of the Madison River and Watkins Creek along Hebgen Lake. The Forest intends to release their environmental analysis this fall.
Glenn Hockett, Gallatin Wildlife Association, following a trampled path, one of many left by cattle through the willows along Hebgen Lake, habitat for resident and migratory birds. BFC file photo by Darrell.
Supervisor Mary C. Erickson is likely to make the final decision on whether to close or renew the permit for 10 years for 74 cow calf pairs to continue grazing habitat on the Gallatin National Forest from July 1st to September 30.
South Fork of the Madison River is fed by underground springs nourishing lush plant growth and diversity in occupied grizzly bear habitat. BFC file photo by Darrell.
TAKE ACTION! Please contact Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary C. Erickson at email@example.com or 406-587-6703 and ask her to perform a suitability analysis to close cattle grazing allotments on the South Fork of the Madison River and Watkins Creek. The Forest should manage the habitat for wild migratory bison, for grizzlies and wolves, sensitive migratory birds and amphibians, and help sustain native populations of wildlife in Hebgen basin.
* Celebrate Wild Buffalo 365 Days A Year!
Order your Wild Bison 2011 calendar today!
BFC's first-ever Wild Bison calendar is proving to be a huge success! Be sure to get yours while we still have some left for yourself, friends and family, and help celebrate wild buffalo every day of the year! Our Wild Bison 2011 calendars are perfect for your home or office and also make wonderful gifts. They are a spectacular salutation to the Yellowstone area buffalo, America's last wild population, teeming with powerful and endearing photos, passionate quotes, beautiful artwork, information about buffalo, and all content was provided by BFC supporters and volunteers. If you know of any stores in your area that would like to carry them, or if you would like to distribute calendars in your community, please contact Mike Mease for more info.
* Last Words
"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. "
~ Aldo Leopold, 1887-1948
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 BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2009-2010 Total: 6
2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 4
2009-2010 Quarantine: 0
2009-2010 Shot by Agents: 2*
2009-2010 Highway Mortality: 0
*Two bulls that were drugged by APHIS on 5/4/10 were shot by DOL
later that evening.
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,708*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality