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           Weekly Update from the Field December 20, 2012
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Take Action for Buffalo & Elk!‏
* 2013 is Almost Here! Order Your Wild Bison Calendars Today!
* Update from the Field
* TAKE ACTION MONTANA! Comment on Montana's Elk Brucellosis Management Guidelines
* Mourning the Passage of Sen. Daniel Inouye
* BFC Wish List Featured Item: Gaiters
* By the Numbers
* Inspiring Last Words

* 2013 is Almost Here! Order Your Wild Bison Calendars Today!

2013 is fast approaching; do you have your Wild Bison calendar yet? Buy some for yourself, your friends, and your family and support Buffalo Field Campaign in the process!


* Update from the Field

Young buffalo bed down on a frosty winter's day. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

As the Winter Solstice approaches, so does the cold. Nighttime temperatures have dipped down to -29 this week. Such temperatures are a bit chilly, but normal weather for this area. We've been getting a little more snow day by day, but not yet enough to cover the sagebrush, though patrols are finally out on skis and snowshoes. Wild buffalo remain elusive and out of sight in Montana, and it seems that buffalo "hunters" have a local source of information as to the buffalo's whereabouts; they, too, have been absent for a number of weeks. It is sad to think that as soon as the buffalo make their way into Montana they will be "welcomed" by a swarm of hunters on snowmobiles, rifles aimed to gun them down.

In addition to working in the field we are also keeping busy in the courts and in Congress to call attention to the government's plans to slaughter at least 400 female buffalo this winter. We need your help to advert this injustice before it begins. Like we did in 2011 when we obtained a court injunction and flooded the Governor and the Park Service with phone calls and emails urging that 800 captured buffalo be released rather than shipped to slaughter, we will do everything in our power to protect the wild bison. But we can not do it without you.

The best way to help is to and help us close 2012 in the black and as strong as possible. Contributions are tax-deductible and will directly fund BFC's frontlines work to protect the buffalo. Support us today and take the added benefit of writing your contribution off on your 2012 taxes.

We also have an updated Take Action item up, urging Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk to cease plans to slaughter America's last wild buffalo. Read on for a unique action to help elk in Montana. Every voice counts!

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!

TAKE ACTION MONTANA! Comment Today on Montana's Elk Brucellois Management Guidelines

A cow elk makes her way through the Gardiner Basin. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Montana residents, your voice is needed today! Whether it's wolves, buffalo, or elk, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is eagerly bending over backwards to appease the cattle industry. FWP is proposing to target brucellosis in elk in response to demands from livestock interests. No responsibility is being placed on the livestock industry, even though it was cattle who brought brucellosis to North America in the first place. Elk feedgrounds in Wyoming and Idaho are also ignored, though it is accepted that elk likely got brucellosis from cattle on such feedgrounds, and it is widely known that unnaturally congregating wildlife exacerbates disease transmissions.

TAKE ACTION MONTANA: Comment today, December 20, on FWP's proposed "Elk Management Guidelines in Areas With Brucellosis Working Group Recommendations." FWP did not provide a point person for accepting public comments on this proposal, so public comments are being accepted through their online comment form here.

Here are a few suggested talking points you may wish to include in your comments:

  • Commend FWP for rejecting an elk test and slaughter program, but question why Montana continues to test and slaughter migratory bison, who are fewer in number and whose range is severely confined.
  • Urge FWP to reject the scapegoating of predators and the killing of wolves, citing the contribution of 10,000 jobs and over $100,000 million in state revenue contributed by wildlife watchers.
  • Urge FWP to reject the premise that Montana's wildlife, taxpayers, and hunters should bear the burden of another costly welfare ranching program.
  • Montana must address the neighboring states of Idaho and Wyoming, which host elk feedgrounds enabling an unnatural congregation of elk on feedlines, including livestock feedlines. Feed grounds must be shut down if brucellosis risk management is to be seriously addressed.
  • FWP's "fundamental objective" of minimizing disease transmission can be accomplished by managing cattle.
  • FWP's "fundamental objective" of maximizing cost effectiveness is best accomplished through cattle herd management plans and the program already in place in Designated Surveillance Areas.
  • FWP's "fundamental objective" of maximizing cost effectiveness where taxpayer dollars are spent is best accomplished by acquiring habitat and or purchasing cattle grazing allotments in perpetuity.
  • Strongly urge Montana FWP to reject another costly, wasteful taxpayer funded welfare program for cattle ranchers and tell them not to permit management of our wildlife heritage to be taken over by livestock interests. Remind FWP that Montana has public trust responsibilities and must act on behalf of "each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations" (MCA 75-1-103).

* Mourning the Passage of Senator Daniel Inouye

From left to right: Josh Osher, Honor Keeler, Troy Woodward (Attorney for the Little Shell Tribe), Shanoa Pinkham (Miss Indian Nation), Jimmy St. Goddard and Senator Inouye. Click photo for larger image.

On December 17, Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) passed away at the age of 88. Sen Inouye was the longest serving member of the United States Senate and an original member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. I had the great honor of meeting the Senator this past spring when Jimmy St. Goddard and I traveled to Washington to discuss the plight of wild buffalo and the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. During that meeting, Sen. Inouye offered sage advice on how to proceed and pledged his support for our efforts. Working with the Senator's staff, we have made some good progress in our efforts to raise awareness and make positive change for the buffalo. Senator Inouye's help has opened many doors. With Senator Inouye's passing we have lost a great ally and friend. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered for his great service.

Josh Osher
BFC Policy Coordinator

* BFC Wish List Featured Item: Gaiters

The snow has finally arrived and we're getting more every day. To help keep our volunteers dry in the field, we like to have a supply of gaiters on hand. Our current inventory is looking a bit low and in disrepair, so at this time we are asking for gaiters, especially large sizes that will fit well over pack boots and thick wool pants.

View BFC's current Wish List. All donations are tax deductible.

Thank you so much for all of your support!

BFC Gear Coordinator

* By the Numbers

The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 4,300 individual buffalo. Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

Total Buffalo Killed: 31
Government Capture:
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Treaty: 1
Treaty Hunts: 30
Shot by Agents:
Highway Mortality:

Total Killed in Previous Years
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631

Total Killed Since 2000: 4,039

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway mortality

* Inspiring Last Words

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you are have chosen the side of the oppressor."

~ Desmond Tutu

If anyone has submissions for Last Words just send them to us. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you have been sending! Keep them coming!


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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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