* Update from the Field: More Than 500 Wild Buffalo Trapped in Yellowstone
Wild buffalo are the only animals not allowed to leave the man-made boundaries of Yellowstone National Park and are harassed or killed for following their natural migratory instincts. BFC file photo by Jesse Crocker.
Last week's Update from the Field articulated the numerous and horrific realities the buffalo are facing this winter. Since then, Yellowstone National Park has captured an additional 133 wild buffalo. More than 500 are confined inside the Park's Stephens Creek bison trap. Last week we filed an Emergency Injunction calling for an immediate halt to Yellowstone's plans to slaughter American buffalo, a motion based on and underscoring the evidence outlined in our 2009 Bison Habitat Lawsuit which demonstrates Yellowstone's actions will cause irreparable harm to the only continuously wild population of American buffalo. Yellowstone National Park's response shrugged off the dangers, blatantly ignoring their responsibility to protect America's last wild buffalo, adding that they could - like in 2008 - ship more than 1,600 buffalo to slaughter this winter. We issued a response and a phone conversation with Yellowstone this morning reveals that our litigation is making an impact: Yellowstone says they are holding off on immediate plans to slaughter while they consult with their legal counsel, and they said they will likely not make a decision about slaughtering the trapped buffalo until Monday at the earliest.
Yellowstone continues to jump on the unsubstantiated brucellosis bandwagon, shamefully bending over backwards to appease the political agenda of the cattle industry rather than protect the wildlife we the people have entrusted them with, regardless of the consequences of their actions which will ultimately drive America's last wild buffalo to extinction in the very near future. The ruling on the Emergency Injunction now rests with Federal Judge Lovell.
Regardless of the politics that try to fence them in, wild buffalo press on. Governed by natural law, they continue to walk the land as their ancestors have done for tens of thousands of years. Photo courtesy of Kim Kaiser.
While humans play out their games, the buffalo are the ones that truly suffer politicking as if they were no more than pieces on a chess board. The fate - indeed, the very evolutionary potential - of the prehistoric North American bison is in our hands. We are not powerless - we must not only prevent the harassment and slaughter of Yellowstone's wild buffalo population, but envision and create a world in which wild buffalo are embraced as an honored and integral part of the land, treated with dignity and respect as the true elders of this continent. We must demand that the buffalo be set free - not just from government plans and Yellowstone's trap, but from the boundaries of the human mind that fence them into a shallow landscape. Wildlife management is truly an oxymoron. "None but ourselves can free our minds" and in so doing, the buffalo will be set free from the very real and the mental chains that bind them. After centuries of persecution, the buffalo continue to show us the way: Endless pressure, endlessly applied, with persistence, resistance, and endurance. Roam free!
* WHAT YOU CAN DO - Speak Up for the Buffalo Today!
Steadfast champion of wild buffalo and a huge inspiration to many activists, Mike Mease, co-founder of BFC, has never been one to stand by silently in the face of injustice. Join your voice with the growing herds of wild buffalo advocates! BFC file photo.
1. Contact Yellowstone National Park Acting Superintendent Colin Campbell and tell him to set the buffalo free, pull out of the Interagency Bison Management Plan, stop harassing and killing wildlife and work towards habitat-based solutions for America's last wild buffalo! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307-344-2003
2. Contact your Members of Congress and urge them to intervene with the Park on your behalf and to support federal funding to protect America's last wild buffalo and their habitat. Ask them to support the re-direction of funds wasted on the Interagency Bison Management Plan towards habitat-based solutions that honor the wild integrity of our national heritage. Write Your Representative and Write Your Senators!
3. Contact Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and tell him Montana is being globally shamed by these actions against America's last wild buffalo! Remind him that tourism sustains Montana. Email email@example.com or call 406-444-3111
4. Sign BFC's Petition to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis urging him to abandon the failed Interagency Bison Management Plan. Sign the petition and please pass the link on.
5. Write Letters to the Editor to newspapers in your region to help raise awareness and bring an end to the unjust treatment of America's last wild buffalo. Write on for the buffalo here!
6. Vote for wild buffalo and all wildlife with your money by Boycotting beef. Learn more here.
7. Volunteer with BFC by joining us on the front lines! Get in touch and learn more by emailing volunteer"at"buffalofieldcampaign.org, call 406-646-0070 or get info online here.
THANK YOU! Please spread the word to save these herds by telling everyone you know what is happening to the country's last wild buffalo and what they can do to. Knowledge is power!
* WATCH & SHARE THIS VIDEO: Inspire Yourself & Others to Protect the Wild Bison
* Science: Yellowstone & Montana Harming Bison's Evolutionary Potential
Below are two very important pieces of information, recently released, that reveal that actions carried out against America's last wild buffalo under the Interagency Bison Management Plan are having dire impacts on the viability of this critical population. Arm yourself with this information.
A. "Widespread Mitochondrial Disease in North American Bison." This is an important genetics study by Thomas H. Pringle which finds that there are dire consequences to the current mismanagement of America's last wild buffalo. The findings in this study stress the importance of providing federal protection to America's last wild buffalo - the Yellowstone buffalo population - and their historic habitat. Read about the study here.
B. The International Union for Conservation of Nature "Red Listed" the American bison as threatened with near extinction in a 2010 report. This study further emphasizes that the Yellowstone population - the last continuously wild population of American buffalo - and their habitat warrant immediate protection under the Endangered Species Act. Extinction is forever. Read the IUCN report here.
* By the Numbers
AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. Including the buffalo being held captive by Yellowstone, the last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,800 individual buffalo.
2010-2011 Total: 142
2010-2011 Government Capture: 513
2010-2011 Government Slaughter:
2010-2011 Died In Government Trap: 1
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 139
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents: 1
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 1
2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,853*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality
* Last Words
"The buffalo amble along
Their heads heavy with wisdom
And big with winter fur
They look like they know things
We don't know
They look like they wouldn't tell us
If they could
And if we learned their speech
And eavesdropped on their discourse
Their thoughts would be too ancient
And alien for us to grasp"
~ Nancy Schimmel, written in 1979
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!