* Update from the Field
A frightened female buffalo inside Yellowstone's Stephens Creek trap sorting pens. BFC file photo by Ken Cole. Click photo for larger image.
On Friday, BFC's Gardiner patrols witnessed Yellowstone National Park and the State of Montana capture another thirty-two of America's last wild buffalo, raising the captive population to six hundred and fifty-nine. Like hundreds of other buffalo captured this year, these new captives are being held in the Stephens Creek bison trap, where they will be separated from family members and undergo rough human handling as agents sort them by sex and age and then put them through the abusive torments of testing for exposure to brucellosis. The Stephens Creek buffalo trap is far over capacity, so the recently captured buffalo that test negative for brucellosis exposure will be transported to the Corwin Springs buffalo prison, a few miles north of Yellowstone National Park, where they will join sixty-seven previously captured inmates, while those testing positive will remain at Stephens Creek. Without significant public pressure, Yellowstone will likely attempt to appease livestock interests and sacrifice American buffalo on the cattle industry altar, sending hundreds of wild buffalo to slaughter later this spring. Please take action now to prevent this unnecessary tragedy!
During a haze on Tuesday, BFC documented as agents ran buffalo through a barbed wire fence. This is an all-too-common occurance, and one of the rare situations that cause buffalo to damage property. BFC file photo by Peter Bogusko. Click photo for larger image.
Yellowstone National Park, the Montana Department of Livestock, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks agents have conducted numerous hazing operations this week in the Gardiner Basin, forcing hundreds of wild buffalo from their habitat north of Yellowstone National Park. Though some groups of mature bull buffalo have been victims of hazing operations, the majority of the harassment efforts have been targeted towards family groups of pregnant buffalo, yearlings, young bulls and cows, and elder females. Cow buffalo and their family groups are targeted because of the fear-mongering related to the brucellosis scam, though agents make excuses that they have received complaints about "property damage." Ironically, the groups of massive bull bison have not garnered such attentions. The alleged complaints about property damage are questionable because buffalo are very careful in their movements and rarely cause property damage when they aren't being harassed by agents.
Two beautiful bull buffalo, roaming their native habitat north of Yellowstone's boundaries. Bulls have enjoyed a little bit of tolerance in the past several weeks. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
For more than a month now, and for the first time in BFC history, bull buffalo are enjoying a temporary respite from constant harassment in the Gardiner Basin. Nearly fifty bull buffalo have been allowed to occupy the exact same grounds that the family groups are being hazed from, with no complaints from residents. In fact, the locals we have spoken with have been relishing the company of the buffalo. Singularly or in bachelor groups, bull buffalo are enriching the landscape, being allowed - for now - to live in peace on lands they have for years been forced off of. They are being given the chance to represent themselves, and they are the best ambassadors of their cause. Living with wild buffalo is easy and extremely rewarding on a variety of levels; these bulls will help demonstrate this, and as more people are introduced to living in their presence, misconceptions will dissolve as the doors of coexistence begin to open.
BFC patrols have been busy along the highways that cut through migration corridors, warning motorists of the presence of buffalo on the road. BFC file photo. Click photo for larger image.
Patrols in West Yellowstone have been keeping busy around the clock as spring migration picks up. As buffalo make their way towards their calving grounds on the Horse Butte Peninsula they must cross Highway 191, a route heavily traveled by 18-wheelers. BFC maintains our vigilance upon the highway as buffalo approach, using our hot pink "Buffalo Crossing" signs to help warn motorists and mitigate buffalo-vehicle collisions. Five years ago we appealed to you for help purchasing these signs. Within days you responded, and we were able to purchase these signs and other flagging equipment. Your generosity has enabled us to save more buffalo and human lives than we could imagine, and we cannot thank you enough.
While bulls in the Gardiner Basin along Yellowstone's north boundary are having a bit of a mellower time, the same is not true for bulls in the Hebgen Basin, west of Yellowstone. The USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking to continue their "bull semen study" and aims to molest eleven more bull buffalo on the Gallatin National Forest. Please see below and help us help these bulls!
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Back by Popular Demand: BFC's "Send a Mother's Day Card" Fundraiser
Thanks to the dedication and creativity of BFC supporter, volunteer, and former board member Kathleen Stachowski, we will again be offering beautiful, hand-designed Mother's Day cards. For a small contribution that benefits BFC's buffalo-protection work we will send one of these unique cards to the recipient of your choice. The cards will arrive in time for Mother's Day and you and the special people in your life will have the satisfaction of knowing that your love is helping protect America's only continuously wild population of bison.
We will have more detailed information about this year's cards next week so please watch this space.
* APHIS Seeking to Molest Bull Buffalo Again
APHIS scientists and law enforcement officers molest a bull buffalo on Gallatin National Forest. Why is the Forest Service ranger draped over this tranquilized bull? BFC file photo by Cindee. Click photo for larger image.
The USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will continue their "Study of Shedding and Venereal Transmission of Brucella abortus by Bison Bulls in the Greater Yellowstone Area." Last spring, APHIS molested thirty-nine wild bull bison on Gallatin National Forest, north and west of Yellowstone National Park. Tranquilized, forced to ejaculate, painted with a blue stripe, roused with a reversal drug, then left to fend for themselves, buffalo bulls are harmed and humiliated by this study, and local residents are threatened. Last spring, two bull bison were shot hours after waking up agitated from the drugs APHIS had given them. County officials also expressed strong concern about the safety of residents after molested bulls were behaving uncharacteristically near homes shortly after APHIS left them. After these incidents, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the agency who issued APHIS the permit, expressed concern about the study continuing, and we were hopeful they would do the right thing and revoke it. However, they are ignoring past experience and allowing APHIS to proceed, regardless of public opposition, lack of need for the study, and its many consequences. This study is a stark display of abuse, totally unnecessary, puts the lives of bull buffalo and local residence in danger, and the results will not benefit wild bison in any way. Please learn more and take action to help these bulls!
Watch BFC's video
Contact FWP's Wildlife Chief Ken McDonald and urge him to revoke APHIS's permit
Contact Becky Frey, APHIS, and tell her she is not welcome to molest bulls buffalo on our public lands or anywhere else!
Don't let this happen to more bull buffalo! Drugged bull, painted with a blue stripe after APHIS molested him. He will be awakened with a reversal drug that can cause anger, gastro-intestinal problems, and anxiety. BFC file photo by Cindee. Click photo for larger image.
* Two New Videos from BFC to Watch and Share!
1. BFC Volunteer Perspective, Featuring Good Shield
Good Shield has been helping Buffalo Field Campaign for a number of years, travelling with Mike and playing music with his band 7th Generation Rise (LINK) during BFC's West Coast Road Show. When Good Shield joined us on the front lines for the first time, things were relatively quiet. This year, his return has coincided with a storm of events.
2. When Elk Fly!
Over the next five years, FWP will attempt to test up to 500 elk for exposure to brucellosis. BFC was present - and documenting - during the first round of testing that took place in the Ruby Valley. While elk may be getting off easier than the buffalo in these cattle industry-driven wars against wildlife, it is nonetheless unnecessary, harmful and disrespectful treatment of our nation's native fauna. Cattle are invasive species that have brought disease and destroyed habitat, they are the manageable element, and they must be carefully managed in order to protect our wildlife.
* Shout Out for Summer Volunteers!
As the days grow longer and more and more bison leave the Park in search of sustenance our presence remains essential. We are also planning and preparing for our summer tabling program. Buffalo Field Campaign is currently looking for personable and enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in setting up and maintaining information tables in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks this summer. We ask for a minimum three week commitment from prospective volunteers so that we can adequately train and prepare you to educate and interface with the public. During summer volunteering with the Campaign one can expect to hand out literature, participate in discussions with members of the public, correct misinformation about wild bison, talk about bison management and policies, advocate for habitat and truly wild free roaming bison, and much more. You can also expect to spend your time hiking, camping, and exploring some of the most beautiful lands our nation has to offer.
If you have time this summer and are interested in being a positive voice for wild bison please contact me at volunteer"at"buffalofieldcampaign.org and we can plan your volunteer experience. Thank you so much for your support and continued work for the buffalo.
Buffalo Field Campaign
* WHAT YOU CAN DO
If only the buffalo could set themselves free like this calf did, but they need your voice! Take action to set the buffalo free! There are many things you can do that will make a big difference for our shaggy friends. Photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
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! Please also tell him to have the Park set up a web cam at the Stephens Creek buffalo trap so that we can keep an eye on our friends. Take Action Now!
2. NEW Easy Action Alert! 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 habitat for wild buffalo populations. Hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest habitats exist for wild buffalo contiguous with Yellowstone National Park's north and west boundaries. These critical public lands are a small part of the buffalo's ancient migrations to winter 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. Take Action Now!
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: 221
2010-2011 Government Capture: 659
2010-2011 Government Slaughter:
2010-2011 Died In Government Trap: 3
2010-2011 Miscarriage in Government Trap: 1
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 211
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents: 2
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 5
2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
* Total Since 2000: 3,932*
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality
* Last Words ~ barb abramo
THIS PLAN IS WRONG.
THIS PLAN IS ANOTHER WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY
THIS PLAN IS ANOTHER ATTEMPT AT RESTRICTING BISON ON PUBLIC LANDS
Your agency FAILED to notify the public of this EA
Your agency, as a PARTNER of the IBMP agencies, FAILED to notify them of this plan
Your agency FAILED to acquire permits for closings on Gallatin National Forest lands
Your agency FAILED to notify the businesses of West Yellowstone, including our Chamber of Commerce, about this plan and the impact forest lands closings would have on them
Your agency FAILED to acquire permits from Yellowstone National Park for your proposed upcoming activities against bull bison during the rut [which I'm sure will be a big hit at the highest tourist time in Yellowstone]
This plan is a further FAIL in that there is no agreement from the state of Montana to allow greater tolerance of buffalo on public lands
I guess what i'm respectfully trying to say is your agency is a TOTAL FAILURE. Just leave your hands off our WILD buffalo!
Sent to APHIS on 3-26-10
barb sent this message to USDA-APHIS when they announced that they would proceed with plans to molest up to fifty bull bison on Gallatin National Forest. Strong and powerful words from a strong and powerful woman. In her honor, and for the buffalo she loved so dearly, please take action for bull buffalo!
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!