* Strong Prayers Needed for BFC's barb abramo
BFC's office coordinator, and dear long-time family member, barb abramo, is gravely ill. She is still in the Intensive Care Unit, and the concern is rising.
Our hearts are breaking with this news, but we know how feisty, strong, and determined barb is, and she has definitely got the heart of a wild buffalo. Anyone who has ever contacted BFC has more than likely spoken with barb, and if you have had the honor of meeting her, you know the powerful woman she is. She can pull through, but she needs help. Please, no matter how Spirit calls you, your prayers, songs, thoughts, blessings, healing energies of all kinds are badly needed. The buffalo and her buffalo family need her with us.
* Update from the Field
For the first time in BFC history, with your persistent voice and the legal help of Western Watersheds Project, our efforts have stopped the slaughter! No decisions were reached during Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk's meeting with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer this week, but the Park Service has just announced that they intend to hold the buffalo in the trap until they release them in the spring.
This news is cause for sweet celebration, however, challenging times persist for our friends the buffalo. The bitter aspect is that the buffalo should never have been trapped in the first place. Nearly every day, these incarcerated buffalo have also been witnessing their relatives on the outside suffer repeated hazing.
GoodShield documents buffalo being hazed off of Church Universal & Triumphant land, the same land where nearly 16 years earlier, his relative, Rosalie Little Thunder, was arrested because she "trespassed" to pray for buffalo that the Montana Department of Livestock shot while a sacred ceremony for the buffalo was taking place. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
On Sunday, Yellowstone National Park and Montana Department of Livestock agents captured 45 more wild buffalo. Then again on Wednesday, an another 62 wild buffalo who were visiting their imprisoned relatives were pushed into the trap. The Stephens Creek buffalo trap is now holding 630 wild buffalo captive. Yellowstone says that, although they had previously said there were no plans to capture more, these buffalo were "not responding" to repeated hazing so they captured them. Buffalo follow their ancient instincts, not the desires of humans. They have no winter range in the Park, and knowing no man-made boundaries, they - like other wildlife - simply must seek food and nourishment where they can find it. The habitat they need is available, but the government and livestock interests refuse to let them access it. There is some conversation brewing between Yellowstone and Montana about opening up potential habitat north of Yellowstone, but no details have been disclosed.
"No Tresspassing - Royal Teton Ranch." Wild buffalo, those who have roamed these lands before any humans ever set foot here, are themselves pursued by the government and arrested for "trespassing" on their native habitat that the Church Universal & Triumphant claims as their Royal Teton Ranch. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
Yellowstone's capture facility is well over capacity for holding this amount of buffalo, and now the Park is saying they will begin transporting some of them to the empty quarantine pastures at the Corwin Springs quarantine facility. Holding the buffalo in confinement - escpecially around calving season - exacerbates the potential for the livestock disease brucellosis to circulate deeper through wild buffalo, as admitted to by Yellowstone's own bison biologist, Rick Wallen, when asked by BFC. The buffalo that will be transported to the Corwin Springs facility will be near buffalo that have been raised in captivity since being stolen from the wild over five years ago, as part of a government experiment to "create a disease-free herd." More proof that all of the actions against wild buffalo have nothing to do with brucellosis.
The Park also reports that another buffalo, an older cow, died in the trap. BFC has been requesting a media tour so that we can see the condition of the buffalo in the trap. So far, the Park has not made any plans to grant this request.
Three buffalo have already died, and one buffalo suffered a miscarriage, as a result of being imprisoned inside Yellowstone's Stephens Creek bison trap. More than likely, additional buffalo will suffer fatalities in this confinement. BFC file photo by Ken Cole. Click photo for larger image.
Our legal efforts to set the buffalo free continue, and Western Watersheds Project will be appealing our emergency injunction to the 9th Circuit Court, with briefs scheduled to begin filing in May.
Bull buffalo along Yellowstone's northern migration routes have taken a heavy hit from hunters, and another was recently killed by a motorist. BFC file photo. Click photo for larger image.
Also over the weekend, just outside of Gardiner, Montana, six more bulls were killed by Nez Perce hunters. Four of these bulls had, a few days earlier, been hazed off of their migratory path into the hunt zone by agents. Another bull buffalo was killed by an out-of-town traveller on Highway 89, north of Gardiner. Passers by reported that they saw the Emergency First Responders taking photo opportunities with the dead buffalo, and the next morning, when patrols again saw his body, someone had illegally removed and taken his head. Highway 89 is a bloody road, allowing 70mph for more than fifty miles that wind directly through one of North America's largest wildlife migration corridors; used day and night by buffalo, elk, big horn sheep, mule deer, white tail, and many other migratory wildlife, this stretch of asphalt is a prime candidate for safe passage infrastructure or lowered speed limits. While BFC has been running night patrols, it is clear that Montana needs to take safe passage seriously for the area's abundant wildlife.
BFC creates and offers for free these "Bison Safe Zone" signs that buffalo-friendly landowners can display on their property as a sign of solidarity with the buffalo. Contact BFC if you're a local landowner who would like to show your support for wild buffalo. They come in bright yellow and orange for clear visibility. Click BFC image to view larger.
In wanting to leave you with some uplifting news, after years of our collective pressure, the Interagency Bison Management Plan agencies have finally admitted that bull buffalo (and we maintain all buffalo) are no threat to Montana's brucellosis-free status, so they are showing some tolerance for them outside the Park in the Gardiner Basin, when they're not hazing them into the hunt zone. It's an extremely limited tolerance, but the result has been that a small handful of bulls have been able to walk a little bit of the land for a few weeks without too much harassment. And a silver lining here is that local residents have been enjoying their presence. In the Gardiner area, where so many buffalo have been harassed and killed, more residents are contacting Buffalo Field Campaign with words of support, wanting to volunteer, and land-owners want to show that support by posting our "Bison Safe Zone" signs on their land. It is this kind of change that will grow into something really big and powerful for the buffalo.
WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!
* New Video! When Elk Fly
Watch and share When Elk Fly. Clicking the FWP photo will also take you to the video.
This is a brief look at the price our wildlife pay for the sake of cattle and the disease they brought. Video created by Buffalo Field Campaign, with footage contributed by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Yellowstone National Park. Many thanks to Mike and Tony for their work in creating this film.
* New Game Changing Rules Governing Brucellosis
Will the Montana Department of Livestock change its views towards wild buffalo? Veterinary Services, a branch of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has adopted - and Montana has accepted - new rules governing brucellosis online.
"Immediate action is warranted to remove requirements that present an obstacle to effectively managing the brucellosis program. Changes to the requirements for maintaining Class Free status, in particular, are necessary so that APHIS and States can use available resources on program activities that will have the greatest impact on disease management and disease risk mitigation."
This is a game changing event for Montana cattle, and wild buffalo and elk migrating in the state. The new rules governing brucellosis:
* Removes the threat of whole herd cattle slaughter.
* Removes the threat of state sanctions against Montana cattle.
* Requires testing cattle in Designated Surveillance Areas as approved by Montana's State Veterinarian.
Montana taxpayers are picking up half the costs of vaccinating cattle in the Designated Surveillance Area.
"Half of the reimbursement is provided through the state's general fund, while half is provided by the cattle industry." MDOL Media Release: "MDOL's DSA Worth Millions to Cattle Producers, State," March 4, 2011
Also check out the reimbursement forms for producers and Vets. Lots of taxpayer money to go around when cattle are at steak(!).
* For Veterinarians
- Reimbursement for 2011
- Reimbursement for 2010
* For Producers
* State W-9
* WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Contact Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk and welcome him to Yellowstone, tell him to set the trapped 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! Take Action Now!
2. NEW! Please contact Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson and ask her exactly what the Forest Service is doing to fulfill their legal mandate to provide year-round habitats maintaining wild buffalo populations. Hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest habitats exist for wild buffalo contiguous to Yellowstone National Park's north and west boundaries. These critical public lands are a small part of the buffalo's ancient migrations to wintering range and spring calving grounds in the Paradise, Gallatin and Madison river valleys. Please ask Supervisor Mary Erickson and the U.S. Forest Service to manage habitats to support these gentle, nomadic giants. Supervisor Mary Erickson needs to stand up to the state of Montana and no longer allow the state to dictate where and when buffalo are allowed to roam our National Forests. Ask her as Supervisor of the Gallatin National Forest to reallocate habitat permitted for grazing cattle to support the keystone ecological roles migratory populations of wild buffalo fulfill on land that is their birth right. Email: email@example.com Phone: 406-587-6758
3. 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 Write your Senators
4. Contact Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and THANK HIM for the 90-day stay of execution, tell him he did the right thing. Please also remind him that wild buffalo must be allowed to access habitat in Montana. Brucellosis is not the issue, but habitat for wild buffalo is the solution. Remind him that until Montana embraces and respects wild, free-roaming bison, the state will continue to be globally shamed by these actions against America's last wild buffalo! Remind him that tourism sustains Montana. firstname.lastname@example.org 406-444-3111
5. Sign BFC's Petition to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis urging him to abandon the failed Interagency Bison Management Plan. Sign the petition.
6. 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!
7. Vote for wild buffalo and all wildlife with your money by Boycotting beef.
8. Volunteer with BFC by joining us on the front lines! volunteer"at"buffalofieldcampaign.org 406-646-0070
9. Watch & Share This Video to inspire yourself and others to Protect the Wild Bison
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!
* By the Numbers
AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,700 individual buffalo.
2010-2011 Total: 213
2010-2011 Government Capture: 630
2010-2011 Government Slaughter:
2010-2011 Died In Government Trap: 3
2010-2011 Miscarriage in Government Trap: 1
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 205
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents: 2
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 3
2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
* Total Since 2000: 3,924*
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality
* Last Words
"The key to this issue is to manage the cattle."
~ Glenn Hockett, Volunteer President, Gallatin Wildlife Association
Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes, and stories you have been sending; you'll see them here!