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           Weekly Update from the Field February 20, 2014
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More Buffalo Trucked to Slaughter: New Action!‏
* Yellowstone Baits Buffalo into Trap, Sends More to Slaughter: BFC Press Release
* Update from the Field
* The Buffalo Need You. Volunteer or Donate Today
* Derrick Jensen Interviews BFC's Mike Mease
* Submit Your Photos & Artwork to BFC's Wild Bison Calendar
* Buffalo in the News
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Derrick Jensen

*Yellowstone Baits Buffalo into Trap, Sends More to Slaughter

The terrified eyes of a wild buffalo, crammed in a stock trailer and on her way to slaughter. BFC file photo by R. Doyle. Click photo for larger image.

On Wednesday morning, as BFC Gardiner patrols were monitoring the buffalo held captive inside Yellowstone's Stephens Creek bison trap, stock trailers arrived. 17 more wild buffalo were loaded onto these trailers and transported 300 miles by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes to a tribal slaughter facility in Ronan, Montana. Read the full press release and see below for more detailed events.

*Update from the Field

Two young bull buffalo comfort each other during hard times for their nation. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Hard times are underway for wild buffalo, as hunting, capture, and slaughter increases. Since early February, approximately 87 wild buffalo have been trapped within Yellowstone National Park, in the Stephens Creek capture facility in the Gardiner Basin. None of the buffalo had ever left the park. Park rangers are not actively hazing (chasing) buffalo into the trap, and patrols in Gardiner are convinced that the Park Service has been baiting them with hay, a tactic the Montana Department of Livestock is known to use.

Of the buffalo that have been captured to date, 37 were shipped by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes to a tribal slaughter facility, 17 of these buffalo were condemned just yesterday. Five buffalo were taken by the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service to be used in experiments with the birth control chemical GonaCon. The buffalo that are still in the trap at the time of this writing will likely be taken to other tribal slaughter facilities by the InterTribal Buffalo Council, a federally chartered buffalo ranching organization. This could happen as early as today or Friday. We also learned that the Nez Perce tribe has just signed a slaughter agreement with Yellowstone, so they, too, will begin to transport wild buffalo from the Stephens Creek trap to Nez Perce slaughter facilities in Idaho, more than a twelve hour drive. While tribal governments are making these drastic decisions to fully participate in slaughtering wild buffalo, there are many within these tribes who strongly oppose such actions and these voices will not go unheard.

While these terrible actions are taking place, hunting has also been staining the landscape red. One hundred sixty seven buffalo have so far been killed by state and treaty hunters. Within the Gardiner Basin where buffalo are being trapped, state and treaty hunters have killed seventy-five buffalo since capture operations began. The state hunt finally ended on February 15, but Native treaty hunting will continue into April, with calving season just around the corner.

A portion of a mixed family group of buffalo that BFC patrols have been monitoring since late October. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

In the Hebgen Basin, west of Yellowstone's boundary, a family group that we had come to know very well has been shattered. Since mid-autumn, BFC patrols have been monitoring a group of 26 buffalo. They were all that remained after Confederated Salish & Kootenai tribal hunters killed nearly 3/4 of a group that had migrated into Montana earlier than we typically see. Initially there were over 80 buffalo in this group; after the hunters left, just twenty-six remained. These twenty-six buffalo had been keeping themselves alive by residing on the Galanis property and in Yellowstone Village, both buffalo-friendly residential areas on Horse Butte where hunting is not allowed. Day after day we would breathe a sigh of relief because the buffalo seemed to be quite content staying in this safe zone. But, these buffalo-friendly properties are adjacent to Gallatin National Forest, where hunting is permitted. There were times when the group of 26 would move over to the national forest land, giving us a good scare. But they always moved there when there were no hunters around, and when hunters did arrive, they found the buffalo safely back in no hunting areas. We can't be sure, but we strongly suspect that some hunters got frustrated with the buffalo being inaccessible.

Nearly the whole group of the 26 grazing on top of the Galanis property during a heavy snow storm. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Late last week, patrols discovered the buffalo gone and trespassing snowmobile tracks on the Galanis property. The tracks circled and circled, which lead us to believe that the buffalo were harassed and pushed out of their safe zone. In the days following this discovery, the group split up and eight of them were shot by state hunters. Six of these buffalo were shot near the Madison River, in a sensitive riparian area of Gallatin National Forest that is closed to snowmobiles. As if it weren't already far too easy to kill buffalo, the hunters asked for permission to take their snowmobiles down into this closed area to retrieve their kills. They were unfortunately granted permission by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Only a small handful of these buffalo remain in the area, and they are back on the Galanis property where they are safe, for now.

Some of the 26 on a frosty winter morning. A mom and her calf nuzzle one another. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Please allow this information to inspire you to take action. The buffalo need us to speak up and share their story now more than ever. See below for some very important actions you can take and thank you so much for being with us for the buffalo! Stay strong and remember the words of Edward Abbey, "sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul."

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!


1. CONTACT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: Please call Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk at (307) 344-2002, and also send him a letter to urge him to stop the 2014 buffalo slaughter that is currently underway.

2. CONTACT TRIBAL GOVERNMENT: Contact the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and urge them to stop taking buffalo to slaughter.

3. CONTACT MONTANA GOVERNMENT: Contact Montana Governor Steve Bullock urge him to stop Montana's war against wild buffalo!

4. Visit our page to contact other decision-makers who need to hear from you and please share the links to these take action alerts on Facebook and other social media outlets.

* The Buffalo Need You. Volunteer or Donate Today.

If you have ever dreamed of standing with buffalo and fighting for their rights to be wild, NOW IS THAT TIME! BFC is in need of caring people to make this sacred sacrifice to help the buffalo. 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, migratory buffalo. State, federal, and tribal governments are in the process of capturing and killing hundreds of wild bison. They aim to reduce the already vulnerable population of America's last wild, migratory buffalo to a mere 3,000 animals.

We need more people to stand with us and protect the buffalo. Please, if you have ever thought about coming out we need help from now until the end of May. BFC provides room, board, gear, and training while the wildlife and wild lands provide incredible inspiration. Please visit our volunteer page to fill out an application or email our volunteer coordinators or 406-646-0070. Bring your passion and your ideas. See you on the front lines!

If you can not join us in person we could still use your help. Please use the DONATE NOW button below to make a tax-deductible contribution to our important work for the buffalo.

Thanks for giving us the honor of standing with these sacred beings and please come experience it for yourselves, it will change your life.

Mike Mease

*Derrick Jensen Interviews BFC's Mike Mease

Derrick Jensen is one of BFC's heroes. He is an amazing author, eco-warrior, human rights defender, and champion of all things wild and free. He has written numerous books including the profound and life-changing "A Language Older Than Words," and "Strangely Like War," to name two. He is a must-read author for anyone who considers themselves an Earth defender. Derrick has been a strong supporter of Buffalo Field Campaign for many years and Mike Mease recently had the honor and pleasure of being interviewed by Derrick. Listen to the interview here.

Thank you Derrick! Well done Mike!

* BFC's 2015 Wild Bison Calendar: SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS & ART

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 absolutely 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!

*By the Numbers

The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,400 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: 209
Government Capture: 87
Buffalo Released from Capture:
U.S./State Government Slaughter:
Tribal Slaughter - CSKT: 37
Tribal Slaughter - ITBC:
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**: 1
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 35
Treaty Hunts: 131
Unknown Hunts: 1
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to Research Facility: 5
Shot by Agents:
Highway Mortality:
Cause of Death Unknown:

Total Killed in Previous Years*
2012-2013: 261
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,447

*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

"What are the dying salmon telling you? And the dying forests? What lessons are whispered to you by the ghosts of the passenger pigeons, or the ghostly roll of thunder of a mammoth herd of bison? Allow these voices to inform your actions."

~ Derrick Jensen, A Language Older than Words

Please send us your submissions for Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!

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Buffalo Field Campaign
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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.

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