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           Weekly Update from the Field January 20, 2011
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* TAKE ACTION TODAY! Tell Yellowstone Not to Slaughter!
* Update from the Field ~ 25 Buffalo Hazed Through Royal Teton Ranch
* VOLUNTEER! Please Join BFC on the Front Lines!
* Just $10 for Wild Bison 2011 Calendars! Accepting Photos for 2012
* Last Words
* By the Numbers
* Helpful Links

* TAKE ACTION TODAY! Tell Yellowstone Not to Slaughter!

Please take action right now to help set free the sixty-three wild buffalo currently being held captive in Yellowstone's Stephens Creek buffalo trap. Call and email Yellowstone's Acting Superintendent Colin Campbell today and tell him to keep Yellowstone's promise not to slaughter any these buffalo! Tell him to push back - hard - against livestock industry pressure and set all the trapped buffalo free like they promised!

PHONE: 307-344-2003

Wild buffalo calves, trapped inside Yellowstone's Stephens Creek buffalo trap. BFC file photo by Kim Acheson.

Brief background: When Yellowstone National Park began capturing wild buffalo at the beginning of January for the ill-conceived Royal Teton Ranch land experiment - which allows only 25 captured, tested, collared and tagged buffalo temporary access to a portion of Gallatin National Forest lands - the Park told us the remaining forty-four buffalo still in the trap would be released. They promised none would be sent to slaughter. Yesterday, Yellowstone said they may break that promise; the Park is now considering slaughtering buffalo that blood tested positive for exposure to brucellosis. Brucellosis has been the excuse for maltreatment of wild buffalo for decades, yet it is not a threat to wild buffalo or Montana's livestock industry, moreover, wild buffalo have never transmitted brucellosis back to cattle, nor ever to people. Buffalo that have developed an immunity to the livestock disease would senselessly be killed by Yellowstone's decision.

Please share this alert with others and urge them to take action to stop the slaughter! Spread the word to save these herds! Thank you for being a voice for America's last wild buffalo!

* Update from the Field ~ 25 Buffalo Hazed Through Royal Teton Ranch

Stressed and frightened, wild bison scatter during the haze out of Yellowstone, through the Royal Teton Ranch "Corridor to Nowhere." BFC file photo by Stephany.

Yesterday, nine riders representing the five agencies working under the nefarious Interagency Bison Management Plan hazed twenty-five captured buffalo out of Yellowstone's Stephens Creek buffalo trap, through the Royal Teton Ranch 'Corridor to Nowhere.' BFC was there in force, documenting the sad event. We had a team attending Yellowstone's organized media tour, as well as BFC field patrols in strategic locations. From every angle we witnessed rude treatment towards the buffalo, and their frenzied, stressed behavior. Proponents of this land scheme would like you to believe that this is a landmark event for wild buffalo in Montana, yet a closer look reveals that it is just another way to degrade the wild character and integrity of America's last wild buffalo. Interestingly, the two conservation groups who put some funding towards this land lease scheme - the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and National Parks Conservation Association - were not even present to witness the pathetic manifestation of their efforts that further compromise the wild integrity of America's last wild buffalo population.

Is this Montana's vision of wild buffalo - captured, tested, tagged, collared and hazed to a fenced-in corridor? BFC file photo by Stephany.

After suffering nearly two weeks in captivity, separation from family members, rough human handling, and being fed high-energy alfalfa, the buffalo were frantic. When we first had a visual on the haze, the buffalo were bolting, trying to escape the pursuing agents while attempting to remain together. What transpired was the chaos of a glorified hazing operation. Agent riders and buffalo were all over the place, and one of the horses caught up in the confusion had tossed its rider. Those of us on the organized media tour were kept at a far distance, typical of most hazing operations, though we were able to interview the agencies and interact with other media. There was one point in the haze where we were only 150 yards away, so the tags, radio collars and stress of the buffalo were starkly visible. Every time there was a chance for the buffalo to stop, they would immediately graze and look for their comrades, then press on, away from the cowboys chasing them. They were pushed for nearly eight miles, through an electric fence corridor, onto a portion of Gallatin National Forest land where they will be expected to remain until they are hazed into Yellowstone National Park by May 1st. $3.3 million of public and private money were wasted to disrespect wild buffalo like this. BFC was very disheartened by the whole event and we will be keeping a very close eye on these buffalo as a part of our regular field patrols.

The remaining forty-four buffalo are still confined in the Stephens Creek buffalo trap. It is possible that some will be released and hazed into Yellowstone's interior this weekend. And, as we mentioned in the above Take Action, Yellowstone has stated that some buffalo may be headed for the slaughterhouse if we don't act now. The decision is Yellowstone's to make: Please help stop the slaughter by contacting Yellowstone National Park's Acting Superintendent Colin Campbell: 307-344-2003 colin_campbell@nps.gov

A wild buffalo looks up from grazing to see a buffalo kill site. The lead cow in this small group quickly turned her family around, heading them back towards the safety of Yellowstone's hunt-free lands. BFC file photo by Stephany.

Since we last wrote, another nine buffalo have been killed by hunters after accessing habitat outside Yellowstone National Park. The current population of America's last wild buffalo is barely 3,800 animals, and nearly seventy have so far been killed by hunters, and Yellowstone may send others to slaughter (see above). In a shameful display of a lack of ethics - and not for the first time - some of the buffalo killed in the hunt have been shot right after they were hazed into the hunt zone; Just the other day, four mature bull buffalo were chased by Yellowstone and MT Department of Livestock agents into the hunt zone, and moments later, two of them were killed by hunters. Other buffalo have been shot just a few hundred yards from the boundary of Yellowstone National Park. By hunting, hazing and capture, wild buffalo are being prevented from accessing their habitat, restoring themselves, and fulfilling their critical ecological relationship with the land; consequently, wild buffalo are ecologically extinct in North America and are in dire need of federal protections.

This calf was orphaned by hunters a few weeks ago. BFC was encouraged to see it grazing in the areas where we had shoveled snow away, hoping to help aid its survival. Our biggest hope is that another family group will come and adopt the calf. BFC file photo by Stephany.

The buffalo are at once battling extreme winter conditions and suffering the injustice of gross mismanagement all over the landscape where they now roam. Buffalo are being challenged by a winter that has brought more snow than we have seen in quite a few years, and last week, unseasonably warm temperatures turned that snow into a quicksand-like consistency, and now freezing temperatures threaten to turn it into concrete. If buffalo cannot crater through the snow to the grass, they must move on, but current snow conditions coupled with Draconian management actions make this a serious challenge at best, and senselessly fatal at worst.

BFC is on the front lines, running full time camps in both Gardiner and West Yellowstone. We are also making frequent trips to Helena, Montana's capitol, to battle policies and state legislation that aim to increase livestock industry control over the lives of America's last wild buffalo. Last week, BFC attended an FWP Commission meeting in Helena, to oppose a plan that would put wild-trapped and near-domesticated quarantined buffalo on a fenced-in wildlife management area so they could eventually be hunted. Unfortunately, the FWP Commission approved the proposal. Stay tuned for public comment opportunities as your voice is going to be needed. Today, BFC is in Helena once again to testify against a bill that would prevent wild buffalo from living wild and free on their native lands in Montana. We do have good news to share from our policy coordinator, Josh Osher, who has been in Washington, D.C. visiting with members of Congress; he relates that positive progress is being made and your voice will soon be needed to support our efforts the nation's capital.

As they say, when it rains it pours, and this season is shaping into quite the storm for the buffalo. We need your help. Please consider joining us on the front lines or making a tax-deductible contribution to help us maintain our presence in the field with the buffalo, and in the policy arena so that we may continue and increase "endless pressure, endlessly applied."


* VOLUNTEER! Please Join BFC on the Front Lines!

Noah watches a bull buffalo in the snowy distance inside Yellowstone National Park. Monitoring buffalo migrations is just one of the many ways you can help in our efforts to protect America's last wild population.
BFC file photo by Stephany.

As this '10-'11 winter season progresses, we are seeing on the landscape the consequences for bison of the persisting, and newly implemented government sponsored boondoggles and all their implications. BFC is documenting with full coverage the state and tribal hunts, the farce that is the Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) 'corridor to nowhere' land deal, hazing operations on either side of the park, and any and all actions taken against wild bison. We are also participating in the the testimonial hearings to speak up against anti-buffalo legislation in Montana's capital of Helena, a citizens working group as a possible means to better direct government dealings with bison, litigation against the Forest Service, Yellowstone National Park, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for their respective roles in the decline of wild bison, and lobbying in Washington, D.C. We proudly do all these things and more to the very best of our ability out of passion for the wild and with your continued and generous support.

Our multifaceted approach to helping persevere our nation's last free-roaming population of bison often leaves us spread thin for volunteers. We are finding ourselves in need once more for experienced volunteers to come and help organize and lead our group. The last call for return volunteers was answered with a tremendous and much needed response. THANK YOU!!!!! If you can again - or are able to for the first time this season - come home to Horse Butte, to Sandy Butte, to the Madison River, to your Community, to your Campaign, and to your Buffalo. We all need you and miss you.


* Just $10 for Wild Bison 2011 Calendars! Accepting Photos for 2012

Calendars are now only $10, including shipping and handling!

BFC is very pleased to announce that we are offering the remaining Wild Bison 2011 calendars to you at a great discount! They are now only $10, which includes shipping and handling!

Order today!

We are going for it again in 2012! We are looking for high quality digital images of wild buffalo for every season, so if you have photographed the wild buffalo of Yellowstone, please consider submitting your pictures for BFC's Wild Bison 2012 calendar! Please email Stephany for photo submission guidelines, more information, or with any questions.

* Last Words

"The buffalo voice.
Man made a terrible choice, to silence your thunder.
Now man himself going under."

~ Karen Lyons Kalmenson

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. which currently numbers fewer than 3,800 animals.

2010-2011 Total: 70

2010-2011 Government Slaughter: 0
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 69
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: 3,781*
*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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