Buffalo Break through 'Berlin Wall' of Gardiner Basin
* Update & Video from the Field: Buffalo Break Free, Helicopter Hazing Begins
* Write & Call With Support for the Buffalo!
* Please Attend the IBMP Meeting in Bozeman today!
* TAKE ACTION! Tell Montana's Governor, "No Slaughter for Habitat."
* Buffalo in the News
* The Buffalo Need You. Volunteer or Donate Today
* JOB OPPORTUNITY: Work for the Buffalo as BFC's Office Coordinator!
* Participate in BFC's Summer Program!
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ S.E. Harmon
Devastating hazing events took place in Gardiner this week. Watch BFC's new video of the first-ever helicopter haze in the Gardiner Basin. As tax time draws near, this abuse of our national mammal is one thing your federal taxes are paying for.
Buffalo Field Campaign 4/10/14
4:4 Helicopter Haze
On April 4, 2014 a helicopter attacked the Gardiner basin in search of buffalo, terrorizing everything in its path. With Spring in the air, all the birds returning, and pregnant moms of all species, nothing is safe. Local residents were subjected to the harassment as well.
Wild buffalo in the Gardiner Basin experienced a huge amount of harassment this week, with multiple hazing operations beginning last Thursday, and continuing day after day through Monday. Friday's buffalo abuse included the first-ever helicopter haze in the Gardiner Basin. As the noisy chopper descended upon the Basin to terrorize buffalo, its rotors' thumping reverberated in war-like fashion off the cliffs and mountains, disrupting migratory birds and many other wildlife species who are still recovering from a long, hard winter and preparing to bring forth new life.
The buffalos' main "crime" was breaching the veritable Berlin Wall of the Gardiner Basin, an enormous 7-foot fence complete with an oversized cattle guard on Highway 89 (shown below) and the Old Yellowstone Trail, put in place by the government at Yankee Jim Canyon beginning in 2011. The fence is an attempt to prevent migratory bison from leaving the Basin. But buffalo show that you may as well try to dam the ocean as try to keep them from following their instincts.
The government agents currently managing America's last wild bison are heavily entrenched in livestock-model techniques. Apparently, when building their mega-fence, they forgot that wild buffalo are not livestock with the wits bred out of them. They are, in fact, fantastic swimmers, and quite capable of climbing steep, rocky terrain. Like water finding passage around boulders, it was only a matter of time before the buffalos' instincts lead them through the barrier, showing man the errors of his arrogance. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click images for larger views.
Agents on horseback push a group of buffalo south, back through the mega-fence. To the north, not too far beyond the direction the buffalo were turned from is Tom Miner Basin, a huge grassy bowl, which opens up into the lush Paradise Valley; land that generations of bison have roamed for hundreds of thousands of years. The Basin is excellent bison habitat, but Montana livestock interests have laid claim to it and fenced it off -- literally and politically -- wanting to hoard it for invasive cattle. BFC file photo by David. Click photo for larger image.
Buffalo were successful in circumventing the mega-fence twice last week. Hazers with the Montana Department of Livestock, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the National Park Service, and USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service actively participated in pushing buffalo off of their chosen ground with horses, a helicopter and an ATV. U.S. Forest Service law enforcement was present to control Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers. Other hazing operations took place as well, some being conducted as "preemptive strikes" against the buffalo to prevent them from breaking through the buffalo barrier, while other hazing operations took place due to a few landowner complaints. Ironically, in Montana and other western states, landowners are responsible for fencing their own properties to keep out another's cattle, and can also be charged fines if livestock are damaged. So why are American tax payers having to foot the bill to appease a few anti-buffalo landowners who insist on occupying critical wildlife habitat and refuse to share the land with her rightful inhabitants?
A handsome bull buffalo. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
Things are only going to get more interesting as we move forward and the buffalo gain more ground. Big changes are afoot (see below and speak up!) and the buffalo will need all their friends standing by their side, speaking on their behalf. While gaining habitat in the Gardiner Basin has been a great first step, there are many, many miles to go. Taking our cue from the buffalo, BFC will be here to share the buffalo's perspective and help erase these arbitrary boundaries. Wild buffalo will roam and unless people want to fence off the rest of the continent with a 20-foot electrified wall, we're going to have to agree to get along; something wild buffalo have already shown they are more than willing to do, and something we are certainly smart enough and compassionate enough to accomplish.
WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!
* Write & Call With Support for the Buffalo Today!
BFC strongly encourages bison advocates who live in the Gardiner Basin, or anywhere else, to publicly celebrate wild buffalo roaming here. Unfortunately, the anti-buffalo contingent, while small in number, is loud in voice. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is receiving negative calls, and bison advocates need to make it known to the media and government that we are celebrating the presence of wild buffalo in the Gardiner Basin! It is *critical* that support for the buffalo in the Gardiner Basin is heard by decision-makers!
We can't let the buffalo be misrepresented by the few folks who hate and fear them!
Please call today:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 3 Office: Phone: (406) 994-4042
Montana Governor Steve Bullock: 406-444-3111
Montana Department of Livestock: 406-444-0782
To show our appreciation for helping wild buffalo, if your LTE is published we will send you a free BFC t-shirt or calendar. Send us the link to your buffalo-friendly letter when published, your gift preference, tee shirt size, and mailing address. Thank you!
* Please Attend the IBMP Meeting in Bozeman Today!
JOIN US TODAY! As you read this, BFC and other wild bison advocates are attending an important Interagency Bison Management Plan meeting, being some of the only voices to champion America's last wild, migratory buffalo. Please join us if you can! The meeting starts at 8am today, April 10th, in Bozeman, MT. The agenda is loaded with important issues, including a disastrous 'bison slaughter for habitat' proposal from Montana and the announcement of a new state-federal Environmental Impact Statement which will impact both bison and elk. There will be two opportunities for public comment. We need a strong showing of solidarity at this meeting so please try to join us, bring friends, and spread the word! Meeting details, including a draft agenda and location can be found here (PDF).
* TAKE ACTION! Tell Montana's Governor: No Slaughter for Habitat!
Broad public support for year-round buffalo habitat - almost 120,000 public comments received by Montana - has been corrupted by the Department of Livestock and their allies and turned into a buy-in for slaughtering buffalo. Montana's buffalo-slaughter-for-habitat proposal (PDF) is a dirty compromise between Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Montana Department of Livestock. It shows how the livestock industry has corrupted the public decision making process and management of the public's buffalo. If this proposal implemented, wild buffalo will only be given year-round habitat if their numbers are reduced to and kept under 3,300 animals. The larger the population, the less land they can access and the more slaughter and hunting will be used to kill them. Montana's slaughter for habitat proposal exemplifies the corruption of cattle ranchers in charge of wild buffalo.
TAKE ACTION NOW to tell Montana Governor Steve Bullock: No Buffalo Slaughter for Habitat!
* The Buffalo Need You. Volunteer or Donate Today.
If you have ever dreamt of standing with buffalo and fighting for their rights to be wild, now is the 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. We need help from now until the end of May. BFC provides room, board, gear, and training while the wildlife and wildlands 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 ideas. See you on the front lines!
If you can not join us in person we can 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.
WITH THE BUFFALO,
* JOB OPPORTUNITY: Work for the Buffalo as BFC's Office Coordinator!
Buffalo Field Campaign is currently accepting applications for our Office Coordinator position. This job, located at BFC headquarters near West Yellowstone, will open in May 2014. Applicants should be well organized, personable, and articulate and should have experience with nonprofit or small business bookkeeping. Familiarity with Microsoft Office is a must, as is knowledge of and passion for wild bison and the work of Buffalo Field Campaign. For a full job description and information on how to apply, please contact BFC's Executive Director.
* 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. We need help from June until the first week of September. The positions will entail working in our Buffalo Museum in West Yellowstone, tabling and camping inside Yellowstone National Park, and representing BFC at music festivals and summer events. Each week we will have you do a different job so you won't be stuck doing one thing all summer. If spending time in the Yellowstone ecosystem helping to save the buffalo is something that interests you, please contact Mike. This will be a summer you won't soon 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: 646
Government Capture: 359
Buffalo Released from Capture: unknown
Tribal - ITBC Slaughter: 157
Tribal - CSKT Slaughter: 101
Died in Government Trap: unknown
Died in Government Research Facility**: 1
State Hunt: 31
Treaty Hunts: 291
Poached in Yellowstone: 3
Sent to APHIS Research Facility: 60
Highway Mortality: 3
Total Killed in Previous Years*
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,884
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
**bison stolen from the wild and placed in APHIS research facilities 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 ~ S.E. Harman
"Sometimes and usually we forget the history of a place and so we repeat that history without realization of the impact it makes within the modern world as we know it. The Bison are no different and as many know President Theodore Roosevelt saved for all intent and purposes the Bison of Yellowstone and yet for the past 24 years I have been coming to the Park the Bison have remained under a blistering attack that can only be compared to the buffalo hunters of years ago. I hear of the Public Lands and the pillar of Yellowstone "for the enjoyment of the People” but that again has gone by in history, so continue to fight for the freedom of the Bison to roam free. I see the sadness in the fact that more Bison have been killed than are alive in the Park at this moment in time, I do hope for a change, do you? This will be my 25th year in coming to Yellowstone, and my 25th time of hope. Roam Free!!!"
~ S.E. Harman
Chief of Environmental Health & Safety
NIMS Point of Contact
Southeastern Oklahoma State University