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           Weekly Update from the Field January 6, 2011
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31 Buffalo Captured Inside Yellowstone, Hunting Tragedy
* Update from the Field: 31 Bison Captured Inside Yellowstone, Hunting Tragedy
* TAKE ACTION: Three Things You Can Do Right Now
* Bison Relocation or Fish in a Barrel?
* Buffalo in the News
* Last Words - From the Cow's Mouth
* By the Numbers
* Helpful Links

* Update from the Field: 31 Bison Captured Inside Yellowstone, Hunting Tragedy

Shame on Yellowstone! Wild bufalo confined in pens at Stephens Creek trap, inside Yellowstone National Park.
NPS file photo.

Hazing operations have been taking place nearly every day along migration routes north of Yellowstone. Early Tuesday afternoon, Yellowstone National Park and the Montana Department of Livestock began capturing wild buffalo at the Stephens Creek buffalo trap, inside Yellowstone National Park, for the ill-conceived Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) land scheme, which BFC refers to as the Corridor to Nowhere. The RTR land scheme is a $3.3 million agreement between the Church Universal & Triumphant (CUT), Yellowstone National Park, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and the National Parks Conservation Association. CUT has been given private and taxpayer money in exchange for removing their cattle for only 30 years and allowing just twenty-five bison temporary access to small portions of public lands on Gallatin National Forest and CUT lands.

BFC patrols in Gardiner report that a total of thirty-one buffalo have so far been captured. Yellowstone intends to capture between 60 and 80 buffalo for their experiment.

The $3.3 million RTR land scheme - paid for with public and private money - is falsely described as a step towards "increased tolerance" for wild buffalo in Montana. It is utterly incongruous to say that this experiment holds any benefit for wild buffalo, it is simply one more way that Yellowstone, Montana and certain conservation groups compromise the wild integrity of America's last wild bison by managing them as livestock.

The buffalo hazed into the trap will be held in confinement for an unknown period of time, placing them under a great deal of stress and, based upon similar operations in the past, causing serious injury and even death to some of the captured animals. Family groups will be separated, mothers from calves, brothers from sisters. They will then suffer squeeze chutes, blood tests, and highly invasive pregnancy tests. Yellowstone and Montana will randomly choose twenty-five buffalo from this test group that have blood-tested negative for exposure to brucellosis, and then further torment them by forcing them to wear ear tags, radio collars, and - for pregnant females - vaginal telemetry devices. These twenty-five buffalo will then be pushed through a small Corridor to Nowhere, encompassing less than 2,800 acres, surrounded by electric fencing and cattle guards, where they will be expected to stay until spring before they are eventually hazed back into Yellowstone.

Click on the image to watch a video of what these buffalo will be subjected to.

Don't believe the spin you hear from proponents of this RTR experiment! Please read BFC's press release to learn more details about this ill-conceived Corridor to Nowhere, and then visit the links below to take action.

For nearly six weeks, this family group had found safe refuge in the no-hunting area of Yellowstone Vilalge, a buffalo-friendly neighborhood, until they were chased out by hunters, who killed three. BFC file photo by Stephany.

More buffalo have been killed by hunters just outside of Yellowstone National Park, raising this winter's death toll to forty-six. A family group buffalo that had been living safely inside the buffalo-friendly private lands of Yellowstone Village, where no hunting is allowed, were pushed off of private property by a Confederated Salish-Kootenai hunting party. They were chased by the hunters with snowmobiles and on foot onto Gallatin National Forest land, and three of them - two adult cows and a young bull - were shot. Consequently, two calves were orphaned, and after the incident, one of the calves, lost and confused, was later struck by a vehicle and killed. These buffalo had found a safe haven in Yellowstone Village, and had been there for more than six weeks, but the refuge they had during the hunt was violated. Local residents and BFC have been deeply heartbroken and disturbed by this tragic event. We contacted Tribal officials, who were likewise very upset to hear this news and have opened an investigation. We are working together with the Tribe to make sure that such incidents do not happen again.

* TAKE ACTION: 3 Things You Can Do Right Now!

Endless pressure, endlessly applied! We can and will make the difference for wild buffalo in America! Here are three things you can do right now to help:




Straight from your heart, the message is the same: Let wild buffalo roam! America doesn't want Montana killing buffalo. Livestock should be removed from the buffalo's habitat so buffalo may migrate freely. Congress and the President can find habitat-based solutions and redirect the millions of U.S. tax dollars wasted annually on the harassment and slaughter of America's last wild buffalo. These buffalo are a national treasure, indigenous to most of North America and they must be protected now if they are to reach their evolutionary potential and maintain integrity as a wildlife species.

* Quarantine Update: Bison Relocation or Fish in a Barrel?

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) is talking about where the buffalo remaining at the Corwin Springs quarantine facility might be able to roam. But, even though they have suffered the government's huge and unnecessary ordeals, passed all the experimental tests and are brucellosis-free, MFWP is still unwilling to let disease-free buffalo roam outside of fences. When it comes to wild buffalo MFWP continues to treat the native species like domestic livestock. Fearing a backlash from cattle producers, they simply don't want wild buffalo. But we do.

MFWP will soon propose relocating quarantined buffalo to Wildlife Management Areas, but they will still be confined. BFC has always opposed the bison quarantine, yet these buffalo have suffered and passed the government's brucellosis-free tests, so why can't they roam free outside of fences when that was supposedly the whole idea behind the Quarantine Feasibility Study? FWP's plan would further the disrespectful livestock model while adding the sickening twist of hunting buffalo on fenced-in public land after they have been raised in captivity since they were stolen from the wild as calves.

As BFC sees it, big game buffalo behind a fence is not a wildlife population, it's another game farm. Wildlife means WILD-LIFE. Montana has a public trust obligation to restore wild buffalo in their native habitats, and does not need another confined herd of buffalo. Montana needs wild buffalo. The MFWP Commission will address this issue on Thursday, January 13 in Helena, Montana. Please consider emailing the MFWP Commission and letting them know you want wild buffalo in Montana, roaming free and unfenced.

* Buffalo in the News

Please consider responding to these articles with a Letter to the Editor.

State considering relocating brucellosis-free bison on various wildlife management areas
Helena Independent Record

FWP eyes state land for bison
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Bison being corralled, tested; to be released outside Yellowstone's north entrance
Billings Gazette

Bison move to Royal Teton Ranch could be days away
Bozeman Daily chronicle

BFC Radio Interview with Tiokasin Ghosthorse
WBAI First Voices Indigenous Radio

* Last Words ~ From the Cow's Mouth

"Bottom line, our ranchers don't support bison relocation. Our ranchers are just very fearful that bison restoration will result in the elimination of cattle grazing."

~Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers' Association

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!

* By the Numbers

AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. Remaining population estimated at fewer than 3,900 buffalo.

2010-2011 Total: 46

2010-2011 Government Slaughter: 0
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 46
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents: 0
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 1

2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,757*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality

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BFC is the only group working in the field every day in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.

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