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           Weekly Update from the Field November 11, 2010
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Ways You Help Protect the Buffalo ~ We Give Thanks‏
* Ways You Help Protect Wild Buffalo
* Update from the Field ~ We Give Thanks
* Holiday Gift Idea: 2011 Wild Bison Calendars
* Last Words
* By the Numbers
* Helpful Links

* Ways You Help Protect Wild Buffalo

While we have many things to be thankful for this year, none of them would be possible without your inspired contributions and strong support. The actions you took, the donations you made, and the help you lent in 2010 have allowed Buffalo Field Campaign to powerfully defend the wild buffalo on many fronts.

As they have every winter since 1997, Buffalo Field Campaign patrols were in the field with the buffalo protecting them from and documenting every action against them all last winter. More than 150 volunteers joined us in West Yellowstone and Gardiner Montana last year to wake every day before sunrise and ski out along the Yellowstone boundary to document and defend the buffalo and their native habitat. Volunteers captured video footage, shot photographs, recorded data, and wrote stories so that BFC could continue to keep you up-to-date, informed, and inspired to act in the bison's defense. These field patrols are the backbone of BFC's body of work; without them we would be just another group working from an office and removed from the species and ecosystem we are striving to protect. Patrols give us face-to-face time with the bison, allowing us to experience firsthand their natural grace and every human action taken against them.

Learning from the bison what their lives should be like and bearing witness to their harassment and slaughter are both powerful motivators for change. Recognizing that the buffalo will only be safe when they are protected under human laws, BFC is currently pursuing two separate lawsuits against the agencies responsible for the slaughter. Our habitat lawsuit, filed against the National Park Service and US Forest Service, aims to protect the bison and their native habitat from a management plan that has needlessly removed--through hazing, shooting, and slaughter--thousands of wild bison from federal lands that are their birthright. We are asking the federal courts to forbid the Park Service and Forest Service from participating in or permitting actions that would lead to the slaughter or removal of wild bison.

BFC's Public Trust lawsuit takes the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) to task for its decision to relocate quarantined Yellowstone buffalo from the ecosystem and house them where they can not be accessed by the public on the Green Ranch owned by Turner Enterprises Incorporated (TEI). The lawsuit also seeks to overturn FWP's decision to compensate TEI with the offspring of these once wild Yellowstone buffalo. FWP's decision violates the public trust, and we are asking the courts to force the agency to honor its original promise that all the quarantined bison, including their offspring, would be managed as public wildlife and not be privatized or commercialized.

In addition to filing these legal actions, BFC strengthened our relationships with allies in Congress to further our legislative strategy to protect wild buffalo and their habitat. Since December of 2009 we have employed a Washington, DC-based Policy Coordinator to create, promote, and identify opportunities to protect the bison through federal legislation and appropriations. Our long-term efforts to protect the bison's critical habitat on Horse Butte paid off last December when the Forest Service closed the Horse Butte public lands grazing allotment.

These are just a few of the specific strategies Buffalo Field Campaign is currently undertaking to protect wild bison and their habitat. Please continue to support Buffalo Field Campaign so we can carry these efforts to successful completion. With more than 65% of our budget coming from tax-deductible individual contributions, our success depends upon you. Please contribute what you can today. Even a five or ten dollar contribution is a big help!

If you can not afford to support us financially at this time, please take a moment to write a review of Buffalo Field Campaign. Potential funders view these reviews and your positive words will help inspire others to contribute much needed funding.

On behalf of everyone at Buffalo Field Campaign, we wish you a happy holiday season!

For the Buffalo,

Dan Brister
Executive Director
Buffalo Field Campaign

* Update from the Field ~ We Give Thanks

Two buffalo roam the riverside. BFC file photo from the archives.

We give thanks that there are still wild buffalo walking the Earth. Buffalo that still follow their migratory instincts and still carry the integral wisdom of the ancients that does not bend or bow to human fences, boundaries, or prejudice. We give thanks for the wild buffalo's instincts to simply place one foot in front of the other and walk the land, regardless of government plans; a drive so deeply rooted in their time before time that man's shallow greed has not yet taken this from them. We give thanks that buffalo still roam, confounding certain humans' selfishly inflicted consequences. We give thanks for the last remaining buffalo that found shelter in Yellowstone's remote Pelican Valley barely 150 years ago; the twenty-three that were all that was left of tens of millions, who ensured the survival and wild integrity of their prehistoric kind. We give thanks that buffalo have biologically withstood diseases brought by invasive cattle, their blood building resistance to the dark gifts from these bovine invaders. We give thanks that it is still possible to look into the eyes of a wild buffalo and remember a time we forgot we once knew, and dream of its return. We give thanks that the land cries out for the return of wild buffalo, welcoming their homecoming when the hearts of humans open to the drumming of the buffalos' foot steps, and the land is again shared, healed and whole with the presence of wild buffalo.

We give thanks for the abundance of snow that has been falling, snow that brings the life giving waters when the sun waxes and the rivers run fast and deep through the veins of the mountains and out to the sea. Bittersweet this gift, as the buffalo will also flow with the deepening snow, and this is as it should be, and though we know harm awaits them, we celebrate their life force and give thanks that they continue in their wild ways despite the obstacles. We give thanks for the persistence, resistance, and endurance of wild buffalo.

We give thanks for those who hear the call of the wild buffalo. We are grateful for the volunteers who come from around the globe to defend the buffalo, joining us for the first time, or coming back again year after year. We give thanks for everyone everywhere who cares about wild buffalo and celebrates their wildness and takes action for their right to roam. We give thanks to all of you who make it possible for us to be here standing with the last wild buffalo, bearing witness, sharing their story. We give thanks for the realization that long-term perseverance and passion-turned-action will bring the necessary change we all seek. We give thanks that the status quo that harms the buffalo and the land is an unsustainable and temporary thing in the grand theater of life on earth. We give thanks that there is still time to act, though the time is short, and act we must. We give thanks for the elders who guide us with experience and wisdom and for the flame of passion that burns within the hearts and minds of the youth; for the combined energy and power we hold in our hands to save us from ourselves, and learn to be more like the buffalo. We give thanks for the lessons the buffalo teach us about family, solidarity, fearlessness, abundance, resolve, gentle strength, coexistence, following our instincts without compromise, non-violence and the simplicity of the solutions right before our eyes. We give thanks for the hope and vision of a life for buffalo in which they thrive within their inherent wildness, for a world in which buffalo and all other native wildlife are given precedence on public land, and that buffalo herds will remain as a self-regulating sustainable population, and a viable genetic source for their future evolutionary potential.

We give thanks ~ everyday ~ for the wild buffalo that remain and for each and everyone of you who cares about buffalo and makes the work of Buffalo Field Campaign possible.

Thank you from Buffalo Field Campaign! Click here for larger image.

Roam Free!

* Holiday Gift Idea: 2011 Wild Bison Calendars

Buffalo Field Campaign Calendar

You, your friends, family, and colleagues can celebrate wild bison 365 days a year with this breathtaking calendar featuring the photos of BFC supporters and volunteers. These calendars make terrific gifts, so get your 2011 Wild Bison Calendar while they last! Order yours today!

* Last Words


Later, if it is still possible,
will the salmon come back if the rivers run?
Would the bison have a chance?
Could the grass return to their feet,
hooves stirring soil to seed,
fire opening cones to saplings?
What might grow there again
between meadow and tree-
wild sheep carving the peaks,
and the small pika in its den,
wolves hunting voles, calves, old elk,
their muscles and teeth
making life.

~ Carol Snyder Halberstadt, Oct. 29, 2010

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.
2010-2011 Total: 0

2010-2011 Slaughter: 0
2010-2011 Hunt: 0
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents:
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 0

2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,709*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality

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Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
BFC is the only group working in the field every day in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.

Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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