* VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Intense Field Season Expected in Wild Bison Country!
Buffalo Field Campaign invites you to join us on the front lines, here on the edge of the world's first national park, to defend America's last wild buffalo. Government agencies are planning to capture and kill hundreds of wild bison this season. Yellowstone National Park is poised to trap wild buffalo inside the park and hand them over to tribal officials for direct shipment to slaughter facilities. Yellowstone may also give wild buffalo to the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service for experimental use in a controversial birth control project. Hunting has already taken the lives of eighty-one buffalo, and more will likely be killed as hunting continues through mid-spring. After all of these intensive actions against wild bison, heavy-handed hazing operations will take place during the heart of calving season.
If you can spare a couple of weeks, a month, or stay with us for the rest of the season, we welcome your participation. BFC provides room, board, gear and training. The wildlife and wild lands will provide incredible inspiration. Please visit our volunteer page to fill out an application or contact our volunteer coordinators by email or phone 406-646-0070. Bring your passion and your ideas. See you on the front lines!
* Update from the Field
A buffalo's "high five" in celebration of the fact that no vaccine-filled biobullets will target these herds. Thanks for making a real and positive impact for America's last wild, migratory buffalo. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
Last week we were excited to let you know about a significant victory you helped us achieve for wild buffalo: Yellowstone National Park has rejected a proposal to remotely vaccinate wild buffalo with "biobullets" containing RB51, an experimental and ineffective livestock vaccine developed for use in cattle. Buffalo will now be spared thirty years of pursuit by park rangers randomly shooting them with an ineffective brucellosis vaccine that was never intended for use in wild buffalo. Well done!
It is not often that we get to celebrate a meaningful victory for the buffalo, so please take the time to appreciate the positive impact you have made for these gentle giants.
Another reason for wild buffalo to jump for joy? This is a rare and sweet occasion! BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
We are also very happy to report that the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) announced that they will postpone attempts to capture and vaccinate wild buffalo in the Hebgen Basin this year! While the DOL still intends to move forward with these plans, the buffalo will have a respite for at least this season. The DOL has been directed to update a vaccination Environmental Assessment (EA) which was originally completed back in 2005. When the EA has been completed it will be available for public comment and we will call on you to help us thwart the DOL's plans. We sincerely appreciate, and the buffalo will benefit from, the thousands of letters you sent to Montana Governor Steve Bullock and your members of Congress. The pressure came from you, and made the difference! Again, well done!
Unless every single elk and every single bison are vaccinated against brucellosis with an effective vaccine -- something that is not possible -- vaccination is futile. Elk, not bison, have been implicated in transmitting brucellosis back to cattle. Cattle, which are routinely handled, are the managable element and should be the focus of any vaccination efforts. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click image for larger view.
While these two frivolous and controversial vaccination plans have been averted, livestock interests are still aiming to secure tens of millions of your tax dollars to vaccinate wild buffalo and elk, as well as allocate funding for nefarious birth control experiments on ecologically extinct wild buffalo. The hotly debated Federal Farm Bill is up for re-authorization, and hidden within this legislation are the two abovementioned provisions that pose serious threats to wild buffalo. Please see our Take Action! section below for a new alert.
Beattie Gulch trailhead, shown to the right of the Old Yellowstone Trail. Yellowstone National Park is right at the treeline. Because of it's immediate proximity to Yellowstone and residential areas, a small portion of Beattie Gulch has been closed to hunting. Even so, most of the buffalo killed in the Gardiner Basin this winter have been shot in the Beattie Gulch area. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click image for larger view.
Five more wild buffalo were killed this week by state and treaty hunters in the Gardiner Basin, along Yellowstone's northern boundary. A sixth was nearly killed when the 15-year old boy we wrote about last week fired numerous shots at another bull, wounding him. The bull walked into Yellowstone National Park where the boy could not legally pursue him. Park Rangers tracked the bull, intending to kill him and end his suffering. When the rangers found the bull, he wasn't bleeding from his nose or mouth so they let him live. Because this bull walked away from his hunter he was not "reduced to possession," (i.e. killed or tagged by the hunter) and the boy was allowed to shoot at a third bull, which he did, killing him.
As of this writing, only a few wild buffalo have migrated across the Yellowstone/Montana border. As they roam over and across the firing line between the park and neighboring Montana, one day buffalo are huntable and the next they are out of bounds to huners. Hunters, eager to make a kill, can be seen scoping the Park boundary, as they wait for one of America's last wild buffalo to cross the imaginary line. Wild buffalo in the Gardiner Basin have barely been able to explore the new areas of habitat they were recently granted.
* TAKE ACTION! New Alerts for Important Issues
Contact Montana Governor Steve Bullock and urge him to take a leadership role in defending native wild bison in Montana.
Urge the director of the National Park Service to rescind buffalo slaughter contracts and pull out of the Interagency Bison Management Plan.
New! Contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to remove or redirect from the Federal Farm Bill $35,000,000 tax dollars allocated to fund, in part, bison and elk vaccination programs and the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) controversial wild bison birth control experiments.
* Get Your 2014 Wild Bison Calendar Now.
* Submit Photos, Artwork, and Poems for 2015.
WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS FOR 2015, so if you have high resolution photos, artwork, poetry, quotes, or interesting natural facts about wild buffalo, please contact Stephany for details.
Don't miss out on BFC's 2014 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendar! This is likely our best calendar yet, with stunning photos of wild buffalo in their native habitat, incredible artwork, and inspiring quotes, facts, and poetry. ORDER NOW
Thank you to everyone who has made our Wild Bison calendars such a huge success! This is one of our favorite projects as it allows all of us to celebrate wild buffalo 365 days a year!
* In the Presence of Buffalo Receives Another Great Review!
In the Presence of Buffalo: Working to Stop the Yellowstone Slaughter, by BFC's Executive Director Dan Brister, has received yet another fantastic review. This particular review, from research scientist Jonathan Way, is an amazing demonstration of how powerful and informative Dan's first published work is. Jonathan says, "I learned so much from this book I took a page and a half of notes ... which is more than I normally write down for longer manuscripts." He goes on to say, "If [In the Presence of Buffalo] doesn't anger and inspire you to take action, then I don't know what will." You can read Jonathan's complete and review here.
ORDER A COPY of In the Presence of Buffalo: Working to Stop the Yellowstone Slaughter for yourself, your friends, and your family members. This is the only published book that thoroughly exposes this issue, shedding light on the current plight of America's last wild, migratory buffalo.
* Buffalo in the News
Searching for truth with wildlife diseases (part 2)
Jackson Hole News & Guide (Todd Wilkinson)
Yellowstone managers reject vaccinating bison with biobullets
Reuters (Laura Zuckerman)
War on Wildlife Moves to Federal Farm Bill
The Wildlife News
Guest Opinion: Montana needs strong leadership to resolve bison issues
Gazette Opinion: Mother Nature manages Yellowstone bison
*By the Numbers
The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,500 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild, migratory bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
Total Buffalo Killed: 81
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**: 1
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 13
Treaty Hunts: 68
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to Research Facility:
Shot by Agents:
Cause of Death Unknown:
Total Killed in Previous Years*
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,337
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
**bison stolen from the wild and placed in research facilities (such as for GonaCon) have already been counted as being "eliminated from the population" so bison that have died in a government research facility are not reflected in the total.
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Jim Bailey on Rewilding an Icon
"Bison are being sidetracked away from numerical extinction, but into domestication. However, domestication is extinction of the wild form... If wild plains bison are to persist, we must retain the wild genome in a wild environment. In an "artificial" environment with abundant human controls, the wild genome will deteriorate into something else."
~ James A. Bailey, wildlife biologist. From his recently published book, American Plains Bison: Rewildling an Icon
Please send us your submissions for Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!