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           Weekly Update from the Field March 20, 2014
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Update from the Field: No Slaughter for Habitat!‏
* Update from the Field
* Video: Leftover Salmon Honors BFC
* LISTEN! BFC Show Podcast with Comfrey Jacobs
* The Buffalo Need You. Please Volunteer or Donate Today
* Participate in BFC's Summer Program!
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ BFC Issues Apology to ITBC for an Individual's Harsh Words

* Update from the Field

Wild buffalo move into a blizzard in the Gardiner Basin. Winter may be releasing her grip, but impacts will be felt for weeks to come. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

As the Spring Equinox approaches, wild buffalo calving season is barely a month away. This is a most critical time for buffalo and other wildlife who have struggled to survive the harsh winter, living on the meager offerings of sleeping grasses and their own stores of body fat. With these stores are nearly depleted most of the buffalo we are seeing appear thin with protruding ribs, backs, and hump bones. Being forbidden access to lower elevation winter range takes a huge toll on the bison. In the past few months more than 630 wild buffalo have been killed by humans and winter kills will also be significant. Though snows are quickly melting, green-up is still weeks away, and now is the time when only the strongest will survive. There is danger even in the new ultra-rich spring grasses that will come as the digestive systems of buffalo (and elk), used to breaking down coarse, dry winter-fare, are vulnerable to overindulgence in the green grasses they so desperately need.

This bull and his companion walked through a field of gut piles, stopping to investigate and mourn the violent passing of relatives. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Meanwhile, treaty hunting has continued. Twenty-three more wild buffalo, including pregnant cows, were harvested over the weekend. Thankfully, no wild buffalo have been killed since Monday. We anticipate that treaty hunts will finally be over soon, though it is difficult to predict.

A bachelor bull group allows an orphaned yearling, who's family has been killed by hunters, to take shelter in their company. It is not unusual for cow-lead family groups to adopt orphans, but this is the first time we've seen bulls seemingly accept such a young one. BFC photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Yellowstone National Park issued a press release on Tuesday, announcing that three buffalo were poached in the Blacktail region of the park; shot and killed. While this news is very disturbing, we find great hypocrisy in the fact that the Park Service can capture and send hundreds of buffalo to slaughter while condemning others for committing similar crimes against the buffalo. Closure signs are still in place all around Yellowstone's Stephens Creek bison trap, and we have noticed a few more horses arriving to their corrals. While capture and slaughter operations may have ceased for the time being, we are ever-vigilant for hazing (harassment) operations to take place.

A late-born calf, still donning is red baby coat, grazes alongside its mother. Most buffalo calves turn this color by July or early-August. Survival is more challenging for baby buffalo born closer to the cold, unforgiving months. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click for larger image.

Livestock interests are attempting to turn year-round habitat for buffalo into a slaughter agreement. Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Department of Livestock met this week to discuss a draft proposal that would exchange wild buffalo lives for access to year-round habitat in the Hebgen Basin west of Yellowstone National Park. Essentially, if there are 4,000 bison or more, no additional tolerance will be given, and so-called tolerance would only be given as the population declines. The proposal is unacceptable to Buffalo Field Campaign, as we will not compromise the buffalo or make them pay a blood-sacrifice to gain ground. This proposal shows that broad public support for year-round buffalo habitat has been corrupted by ranchers to force an agreement, a public buy-in, for slaughtering buffalo and driving the population down to a few thousand. The proposal is still in draft form and we are currently reviewing the details. In the meantime, please send a letter to Montana Governor Steve Bullock telling him you reject slaughter-for-habitat, and urge him to step up and take a meaningful leadership role for America's last wild, migratory buffalo. It is, after all, Montana's livestock industry anti-bison policies that currently drive all of the mismanagement of the world's most important bison populations.

Though the buffalo are up against incredible odds, there is a new BFC video below that shows they have awesome friends in many places. Enjoy this light-hearted piece and know that everyone, everywhere, who cares about wild buffalo is Buffalo Field Campaign.


* Video: Leftover Salmon Honors Buffalo Field Campaign

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Buffalo Field Campaign 3/18/14

Leftover Salmon Honors BFC
Live from Whiskey Jack's, Big Sky, Montana: Leftover Salmon with Little Feat's Billy Payne sing "Willin'" and change some lyrics to honor Buffalo Field Campaign. Including interviews with Billy Payne and Vince Herman. Notice Billy's t-shirt!

* LISTEN! BFC Show Podcast Interview with Comfrey Jacobs

This episode of the Buffalo Field Campaign Show goes in-depth with Comfrey Jacobs, the young man who became a hero to buffalo advocates after he blocked access to the Stephens Creek buffalo trap. Listen in to see why he recently took direct action and what it was like when he was discovered by authorities.

Comfrey's second arraignment is scheduled for April 2nd. He will have significant restitution and court fines to pay, and sincerely appreciates all of the offers many of you have made to help with these costs.

Help Comfrey with his legal fees and any fines through GoFundMe.


CONTACT MONTANA GOVERNMENT: Contact Montana Governor Steve Bullock and urge him to champion wild buffalo in Montana by increasing access to habitat and ending the Montana Department of Livestock's authority over wild buffalo!

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. And please consider joining us on the front lines. See below for details. Thank you!

* The Buffalo Need You. Please 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

* Participate in BFC's Summer Program!

BFC is looking for at least six people to help us spread the word to save the herds this Summer. BFC is looking for help from June until the first week of September. The positions would entail working in our Buffalo Museum in West Yellowstone, Montana, tabling and camping inside Yellowstone National Park, and going to music festivals and Summer events. Each week we will have you do a different job so you would not be stuck doing one thing the whole Summer. If spending your Summer in the Yellowstone ecosystem and helping save the buffalo is something that interests you please contact Mike. I promise this will be a summer you will never forget.

*By the Numbers

The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,000 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: 631
Government Capture: 450 (+/-)
Buffalo Released from Capture: unknown
Government Slaughter:
Tribal - ITBC Slaughter: 157
Tribal - CSKT Slaughter: 101
Tribal - Nez Perce Slaughter: 0
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**: 1
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 31
Treaty Hunts: 310
Unknown Hunts:
Poached in Yellowstone: 3
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility: 60
Shot by Agents:
Highway Mortality: 1
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: 4,869

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
**bison stolen from the wild and placed in APHIS 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 ~ BFC Issues Apology to ITBC for an Individual's Harsh Words

Two weeks ago, an individual sent a letter to the InterTribal Buffalo Council's board of directors and member-tribe representatives through BFC's take action alert, addressing the ITBC's participation in Yellowstone buffalo slaughter. This person edited our sample letter to include extreme, hateful language. Though this individual's words were their own, BFC issued an apology to the ITBC, which we've included below. Our Take Action items are meant to present a unified voice for wild buffalo. We encourage everyone to take these actions to persuade decision-makers to protect migratory buffalo and the native habitat they seek. Personalized comments are more powerful when they unify people around pro-buffalo, pro-habitat messages. Here is the letter we sent to the ITBC:

March 9, 2014

Dear InterTribal Buffalo Council Board of Directors & Member-Tribe Representatives,

We have recently learned that you received a letter sent by an individual through our Take Action page containing disrespectful and offensive language. We are sorry this happened. The individual expressed personal language that was not in any way reflective of our original message. Buffalo Field Campaign is committed to a strict code of non-violence and we wanted to get in touch with you immediately to offer our sincere apology.

While we cannot control the sentiments of individual citizens, we are taking this very seriously. We do not encourage or condone this type of language.

If you are not an ITBC board member, we have removed your email address so that you will no longer receive letters from people taking action from our web site. We got your email address from the ITBC website, a public forum, so you may want to have it removed if you do not wish to hear from the public.

We have also changed this alert so that people can no longer edit the letter, and have placed in bold, red letters, a notice that Buffalo Field Campaign neither encourages, condones, nor tolerates violent language or behavior.

As a federally-chartered organization, ITBC is subject to receiving public opinion. Indeed, we still look to you and the rest of the ITBC to stop participating in the slaughter of the last wild, migratory buffalo of the nation.


Michael S. Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign Co-Founder
Rosalie Little Thunder, Sicangu Lakota Oyate & Buffalo Field Campaign Co-Founder
Daniel M. Brister, Buffalo Field Campaign Executive Director
Stephany J. Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, Media Coordinator

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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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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