* Update from the Field
Beautiful young bull buffalo. BFC file photo by Dru.
We are sad to report that a bull buffalo was recently shot by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL). The buffalo was killed by DOL agent Jeff Mount on July 14, just outside of Gardiner, Montana near Yellowstone's northern boundary. BFC did not report this tragedy in the last Update because the DOL denied knowledge of it happening and we were therefore unable to confirm it. After further investigation, BFC learned from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) that the rumor was, indeed, true. Apparently, the bull had walked to the Corwin Springs buffalo quarantine facility, not very far from Yellowstone's boundary, where wild bison stolen from their Yellowstone home range have been imprisoned for over five years. The captive buffalo were excited by the presence of their wild relative, and they busted through the inner fence of the facility. Apparently, DOL agent Jeff Mount attempted to haze the bull away from the area, but soon decided to shoot him. This incident underscores the strong family ties of buffalo; we hold little doubt that the bull was trying to set his relatives free.
BFC and the Gallatin Wildlife Association had contacted the DOL about this incident over the course of a few weeks, with no information gained from the livestock agency. Due to the DOL's lack of transparency in this situation, and more frankly, their lies, BFC has taken legal action by formally filing a Right to Know Request with the agency, a state version of the federal Freedom of Information Act. The DOL's refusal to acknowledge this drastic action is another testament to their deceitful nature, especially in regards to wildlife. They are a rogue agency that thinks they are accountable to no one. Why would they try to hide killing the bull? Since they denied knowing about the incident, what, exactly, happened with the meat, head and hide of the bull? We will find out and let you know. If anyone reading this Update was in the Gardiner area on July 14 and remembers seeing this bull, please share what you know with us.
The Interagency Bison Management Plan cohorts met early this week, with BFC and other bison advocates in attendance. A tour of lands favored by the buffalo along Yellowstone's western boundary was conducted, and while the public was invited to attend, we were prevented from speaking, or correcting misinformation. Of course, one rancher who doesn't like buffalo - Pat Povah - was able to speak freely throughout the entire tour. Interestingly, the Montana Department of Livstock - the agency driving the infamous IBMP - did not have any real representation, not even the local DOL agent, Shane Grube, was present. Their interests were snugly represented by hobby rancher Pat Povah. That evening, there was a public forum organized by locals, and the following day, the IBMP agencies met in Bozeman, Montana for the usual working meeting. Look for a full report and photos from us in the next Update.
BFC continues our summer outreach program inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, talking with Park visitors about the current plight of America's last wild bison population. This has always proven to be a bit of a challenge for BFC, because the Park requires that groups apply for a "free speech permit" and would designate a specific area - a "free speech zone" - where we could table, usually well out of the way of frequently visited areas. The entirety of the United States is supposed to be a free speech zone, and these requirements are a violation of our constitutional, first amendment rights. This permitting process has been challenged in court for what it is: unconstitutional, and just this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that national parks can no longer require permits for free speech. Read the full story here. Want to excercise your freedom of speech with BFC? We are in need of education and outreach volunteers to staff our tables in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks during the weeks of July 25 through August 8 and August 29 through September 5. If you can help, email Mike at mease"at"wildrockies.org.
BFC is also gearing up for the coming winter season with our Wood Cut Week scheduled for September 6-12, and BFC's Mike Mease will hit the road in September for our annual West Coast Road Show. Learn more below and please join us if you can! And don't forget to order your Wild Bison 2011 calendar for yourself, friends and family to celebrate wild bison every single day of the year!
* Jackson Browne with David Lindley Concert Helps the Buffalo
BFC backstage with Jackson Browne! From the left, BFC Campaign Coordinator Mike Mease, Jackson Brown, Andrea Brister, BFC Executive Director Dan Brister and BFC Habitat Coordinator Darrell Geist. BFC file photo.
Rarely do art and activism combine as powerfully as they did last Tuesday, August 3 at the Jackson Browne with David Lindley concert in Bozeman, Montana. The event--thanks to Jackson Browne, the Guacamole Fund, a host of local businesses, and supporters from across the country--was a huge success and helped BFC raise awareness of and financial support for our work to protect the buffalo.
The evening started off with an acoustic performance by David Lindley, who was joined for his first three tunes by Jackson Browne. After Lindely's set, Jackson Browne and his full band took the stage and played inspired renditions of Jackson Browne classics like Take it Easy, Running on Empty, Doctor My Eyes, and The Pretender and many others. Lindley and his lap steel guitar joined Jackson's band toward the end of the set.
After the show, the 50 BFC supporters who purchased special benefit tickets from the Guacamole Fund were treated to a gourmet reception featuring food and beverages donated by the generous businesses listed below. BFC Campaign Coordinator Mike Mease and Jackson Browne made short presentations and everyone was given an opportunity to meet and have their photograph taken with Jackson.
We are deeply grateful to Jackson Browne for being such an inspired performer and activist, for supporting Buffalo Field Campaign all these years, and for taking the time to meet and pose for photos with 50 BFC supporters after playing his heart out during the show and in the midst of an already exhausting tour schedule. Tom and everyone at the Guacamole Fund provided the inspiration for the event and put so much work into making it possible and successful and we thank you for your incredible support all these years. BFC's own Darrell Geist worked incredibly hard to organize the reception and take care of other details related to the event. Without the fifty generous supporters and Jackson Browne fans who purchased the benefit tickets, none of this would have been possible. The event wouldn't have been nearly as successful as it was without the delicious treats so generously donated by the following businesses:
Woodside Bakery, West Yellowstone
Morning Glory Coffee & Tea, West Yellowstone
Wild Joe's Coffee, Bozeman
Bridger Water, Bozeman
Elle's Belles Bakery & Cafe, Bozeman
On the Rise, Bozeman
Sola Cafe, Bozeman
Community Food Co-op, Bozeman
Thank you one and all for your hospitality and generosity!
* BFC Hits the Road West! Tour Dates Announced
BFC West Coast Road Show posters are available for download, so you can help spread the word throughout your community.
Buffalo Field Campaign's co-founder Mike Mease along with steadfast volunteer and coordinator Noah will soon head out to the highways, visiting numerous communities along the West Coast for BFC's annual West Coast Road Show. Many dates during September and October have been confirmed, and more are to come. Mike and Noah will share stories and video footage from our front lines work with America's last wild buffalo population and talk about ways you can help protect them. For the duration of the tour, BFC will be joined by powerful Native voices including Lakota musician and activist, the talented Good Shield of 7th Generation Rise, as well as the incredible Phoenix AfterBuffalo!
Please check the West Coast Road Show schedule to see if BFC will be coming close to you. Plan to join us for story-telling, video, and music, and bring lots of friends. We have only dates and cities posted right now, but more details will be added very soon. For more specific information, or if you can help Mike set up other venues for talks in your West Coast area, please email him at mease"at"wildrockies.org. See you soon!
* Join BFC for Woodcut Week September 6-12!
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.
For more information on these volunteer opportunities, please contact Mike Mease at mease"at"wildrockies.org.
* TAKE ACTON! Tell Yellowstone: No Vaccinating Wild Bison!
Family group of buffalo out on the flats of Horse Butte, Gallatin National Forest. BFC file photo by Dru.
It doesn't make any sense at all to attempt to vaccinate bats, skunks, raccoons or other wildlife against rabies, but it does make sense to vaccinate your dog or cat. So where is the logic in vaccinating wild bison against brucellosis, and not mandating vaccinations for domestic cattle, the manageable species? If it doesn't make sense, the government usually wants to do it, and Yellowstone National Park is no exception.
TAKE ACTION! There's still plenty of time to submit your comments to Yellowstone National Park about their misguided plan to vaccinate wild bison. Comments are being accepted through 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 intended for cattle, and 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 Yellowstone to develop an alternative to buy-out cattle in the buffalo's immediate habitat areas of Yellowstone, Madison and Gallatin River valleys.
Take action today! And please spread the word to save these herds! Thank you for taking this action to help America's last continuously wild buffalo. You can also review the official comments of BFC and our partners Western Watersheds Project.
* Last Words
Big and Shaggy.
Slow and Strong.
Moving on the plain.
Bison it's the same.
Tilling the soil
with big hooves
every step they take.
Lie in the sun
or eat grass
a summer-time break.
Then on the move
with the herd
a-long the plain.
Year after year
same old trail.
Migration calls their name.
~ Eva Vincent, long-time buffalo advocate and BFC supporter.
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: 7
2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 4
2009-2010 Quarantine: 0
2009-2010 Shot by Agents: 3*
2009-2010 Highway Mortality: 0
*Two bulls that were drugged by APHIS on 5/4/10 were shot by DOL
later that evening. One was shot by DOL on 7/13/10 for trying to free his imprisoned relatives at the Corwin Springs quarantine facility.
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,709*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality