* Update from the Field
A bull buffalo was shot yesterday on Horse Butte. For a few weeks he had maintained a space for himself outside of the hunt zone, in the buffalo-friendly Yellowstone Village housing area. The last time we saw him alive he was bedded down inside Montana's largest "buffalo safe zone" on the Galanis property. I can still see his wooly head and horns just peaking over a small rise, hoping that he would keep refuge there, but knowing that buffalo will go where they choose, even if the consequences are fatal. The Galanis property borders Gallatin National Forest land which is in the hunt zone; once he stepped across that imaginary line he became a target and was killed.
It feels as if something has been stolen from the landscape; the bullet extinguished his beneficial and majestic presence, further diminishing the wild bison gene pool by yet another senseless killing of a species moving toward extinction. The Montana Department of Livestock has manipulated wildlife management so severely that hunters are blindly doing some of the killing for them. They call it a hunt but to me it looks more like just another way to kill buffalo that step into Montana. Wild bison still have no year-round habitat in Montana and they are ecologically extinct through most of their native range. Hunting wild bison is extremely premature and bison need to be given the opportunity to recover as a wildlife species in Montana before a hunt can be deemed fair, sustainable, or even ethical.
Snow has been slow to come this season, and we hope that means fewer buffalo will need to make the journey into Montana while the hunt is underway. For those that do, we will be watching over them, and while we cannot stop the bullet, we can give all we have to help change hearts and minds.
* Buffalo Battle: BFC Will Be on TV's Planet Green This Saturday!
Tune in this Saturday night, December 5 at 10pm EST (check local listings) for the premier of Buffalo Battle on Discovery Channel's Planet Green. Buffalo Battle is a one-hour television documentary on the plight of America's only continuously wild bison population and the work of Buffalo Field Campaign. Buffalo Battle captures the ongoing war against wild bison and the conflict between bison advocates, government agencies and Montana's cattle industry as wild bison follow their seasonal migratory instincts from the high country of Yellowstone National Park into the state of Montana. Help spread the word by sharing this Buffalo Battle E-Postcard with everyone you know!
Many thanks to Executive Producer Matt Testa and his amazing crew at Authentic TV for being in the field with us, learning from all sides of the issue, and helping BFC tell the world about the last wild buffalo!
* BFC Needs Vehicles for Field Patrols
We currently have one working vehicle to convey patrols to and from the field, leaving us in dire need of vehicle donations for our campaign. Many of our vehicles have hundreds of thousands of miles and after serving us well, have moved to the vehicle graveyard. Ideally, we need vehicles that have less than 160,000 miles, are 4-door, and have 4WD to carry our patrols through the season. If you can help us with a car or truck donation, please contact BFC's Mechanic Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAST CHANCE: Help the Buffalo with Your Comments to APHIS
Tomorrow, Friday December 4, is the deadline to submit comments to the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) about their Bovine Brucellosis Program, which maintains the status quo of harming wild bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. If you haven't submitted yours yet please do so today. If you have, thank you, and please spread the word to save these herds! Click here to learn more and submit your comments today!
* Take Action: Quarantined Buffalo Need Our Help
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is poised to hand over to billionaire Ted Turner 74 Yellowstone bison that were captured as calves from Yellowstone National Park, setting a negative precedent of commercializing wild bison that are protected for the benefit of enjoyment of all people. These buffalo have been held captive for five years in a quarantine feasibility study by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture APHIS and FWP to produce "disease-free" bison for conservation and recovery of American bison as a wildlife species. That was the agencies stated goal, and that is the reason why the U.S. Congress funded millions for the experiment. BFC has strongly opposed quarantine when wild bison have yet to be recovered on their native range in Yellowstone.
Turner is a commercial entity: if the buffalo go to him, they belong to him. The Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana put in a proposal for obtaining these buffalo, and they've been working on bringing buffalo home for years. Why would the State of Montana and the U.S. government deny them this opportunity? One thing is certain, these poor buffalo need to get out of their quarantine prison as they still have 5 more years of captivity ahead of them . . .
TAKE ACTION: We need your help to put pressure on decision-makers to give Yellowstone bison a chance to remain as public wildlife on lands available to all people. Start by asking the decision-makers below to answer some pointed questions:
1. Contact the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) commissioners and urge them to develop a proposal to open State Wildlife Areas for these bison. FWP has hundreds of thousands of acres of suitable bison habitat available on State Wildlife Areas.
Question: Where is the FWP proposal to reintroduce them onto these lands?
Email the FWP Commissioners at email@example.com or write and call them individually:
Shane Colton, Chairman, 335 Clark Billings, MT 59101 (406) 259-9986
Dan Vermillion, Vice-Chairman, PO Box 668 Livingston, MT 59047 (406) 222-0624
Bob Ream, Commissioner, 521 Clarke Street Helena, MT 59601 (406) 443-2595
Ron Moody, Commissioner, 109 Bach Avenue Lewistown, MT 59457 (406) 538-2698
Willie Doll, Commissioner, PO Box 1142 Malta, MT 59538 (406) 658-2120
2. Give Fort Belknap a helping hand by getting the Department of Interior involved. The tribes have long sought to establish a permanent herd from Yellowstone bison on 22,000 acres "on tribal and public lands in a manner that promotes cultural enhancement, spiritual revitalization, and ecological restoration."
A) Where is the initiative in the Department of Interior's Bison Conservation Initiative? Interior is the largest land owner in the US. Surely there are suitable Parks, Refuges, BLM lands for reintroduction of bison. Why did they not submit a proposal? Without qualification the bison in Yellowstone are the most important population to the survival of American bison as a wildlife species.
B) Why has Yellowstone National Park walked away from these bison? Why are they not offering assistance to keep them in the public trust? Millions of dollars has been allocated to YNP to kill bison and biologists, scientists, rangers have put in thousands of hours to carry out their bison plan. YNP handed over a million dollars to Church Universal & Triumphant to let a few bison on and through their land. So where is the commensurate action to restore these bison for conservation?
Email National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar at email@example.com
For full contact information, including phone and address, click here.
* Last Words ~ We Miss You, Rodeo: Mourning the Loss
In the land of true winter, where we measure snowfall in feet and low temperatures in the neighborhood of 40 below zero, we were lucky enough to meet a gentle giant of a man who lived in a tipi with two dogs. This man, who lived on the BFC property when we first began renting here, shared his skillful wisdom with us and made it possible for us to survive our first winter. He showed us how much wood we would need, how to keep the pipes from freezing, and all the other little tricks needed to stay warm through a Yellowstone winter.
He accepted me as a brother and before long was cursing me (in jest) after he was arrested while saving the buffalo. But we were friends for life. At first we knew this man simply as "Rodeo" but after his arrest we learned his name was Roger Vincent. He never stopped giving to anyone: friend, foe, or new acquaintance. He was the kind of guy who would stop his work to help you with yours. I could go on and on about his positive attributes but he would have made me stop by now. Every night in the tipi where I have lived for the past 11 years I thank Rodeo for teaching me how to live like this.
I will miss you, my friend, as will many others. I am sure you are already in the lead in that dog-sled race up in the sky. I will never forget you because what you taught me I use every single day.
For one who inspired so many stories it is only fitting to end this remembrance with a story. Jeremy, a young native man who was with the Campaign back in our beginning told Rodeo one day that he had come up with an Indian name for him. Rodeo, feeling honored, turned bright red and waited with pride to hear his new name. Jeremy then pronounced "From now on you will be known as "Walking Eagle." Rodeo, obviously honored by the new name, smiled from ear to ear.
"Don't you want to know what it means?" Jeremy asked.
"Yes," replied Rodeo, "of course I do."
"It means you're too full of poop to fly," Jeremy, smiling, told him. Everyone erupted in laughter, especially Rodeo.
So Walking Eagle, fly high and watch over us, because we will always need your help.
To read more about this great man an an event he inspired, please click:
For the Buffalo,
Buffalo Field Campaign
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2009-2010 Total: 2
2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 2
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: 3,704*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities