Of Calves, Hazing and Volunteer Arrest
* Donate to BFC During Give LOCAL Day and Increase the Value of Your Gift
* Update from the Field
* This Week's BFC Video: Mad Science Goes Buffalo Wild
* The BFC Show Podcast Interview with Co-founder Mike Mease
* TAKE ACTION! Keep Telling Montana's Governor, "No Slaughter for Habitat."
* Keep it Wild with the Buffalo & BFC This Summer!
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ An Open Letter to Tribal Leaders & the American People
* Donate to BFC During Give LOCAL Day and Increase the Value of Your Gift!
Everyone can participate in Give LOCAL Missoula on May 6th!
Next Tuesday, May 6, Buffalo Field Campaign will participate in Give LOCAL Missoula, a 24-hour online giving event hosted by the Missoula Community Foundation. Donations of any amount from $10 up will be matched by local and national prize money and bonus funds-making your dollar go further. Check out the website and please consider donating on Tuesday to help Buffalo Field Campaign and other worthwhile groups.
April showers bring May flowers, and also the gift of baby buffalo! BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
West of Yellowstone National Park, though snow patches still cover some of the ground, Spring is solidly here in the Hebgen Basin. The thick ice of Hebgen Lake is losing its grip, rivers and creeks are flowing high and fast, green grasses and flowers are beginning to peek through the dark earth, and migratory birds including pelicans, osprey, blue birds, curlews, Western meadowlarks, and Sandhill cranes are again filling up the skies and sweetening the air with their songs. Patrols have been lucky (and humbled) to spot the fresh tracks of endangered grizzly bears (image), who have been waking up from their long winter's naps, seeking the flesh of elk and buffalo who fell to Winter's embrace. But the most rewarding star of the season for Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers are the little reddish-orange baby buffalo who are beginning to arrive into the world in greater numbers every day.
One of the newest additions to America's wild buffalo family! BFC file photo by Stephany. Click for larger image.
A few hundred wild buffalo have migrated into the Basin in recent weeks, but because of intense government and tribal killing this winter, there are far fewer than we typically see at this time of year. The sheer number of pregnant adult females who were killed through slaughter and hunting will have a huge impact on the number of calves born into these herds. The buffalo who have survived this winter have overcome incredible odds, and each new calf is a special gift, a fragile testament to the Buffalo Nation's ability to endure if not taken for granted or selfishly squandered; something the bulk of the human race still has to learn.
A perfect classroom of coexistence. A German TV crew was here, working on a documentary about the buffalo which will feature Austrian BFC volunteer Dreas Hofer. One day during filming they got to experience this awesome sight. They were totally amazed at the harmony between bison and humans in the housing area. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click for larger image.
The majority of residents on Horse Butte value and celebrate wild buffalo, feeling blessed and honored with the presence of the gentle giants. The few who may not like their presence have learned to live with them anyway. Here buffalo are not taken for granted. Here, in Yellowstone Village, is one of the greatest examples of coexistence, a living classroom that proves the anti-bison contingency wrong in their outlandish claims that buffalo are "fearsome beasts" that "threaten life, limb, and property." All around Yellowstone Village are "buffalo safe zone" signs warning against harassing wildlife and welcome buffalo and tell those who would harm them to go away. Horse Butte is extremely important habitat for wild bison and many other animals. There are never any cattle on Horse Butte, yet Montana livestock interests remain viciously stubborn and will soon send in federally-funded cowboy troops to chase the buffalo away, despite everything that favors the presence of buffalo.
Nearly a daily occurance in the Gardiner Basin. Wild bison are not tolerated on some private property, though these are their ancestral lands. BFC photo by Stephany. Click for larger image.
In contrast to Horse Butte are a few grumpy landowners in the Gardiner Basin who consistently demand the harassment and removal of wild bison from their properties. From their perspective, when they "claimed" the land there were no wolves, no buffalo, and no Indians, and they want to keep it that way. There are simple things these landowners could do to mitigate bison on the wrong side of their fence lines, but they would rather complain and kill. They would rather waste tax dollars to see the buffalo harassed and abused day after day than to make sensible adjustments or remove themselves from wild buffalo habitat. This past week in Gardiner, hazing took place on the exact same properties as it has for the past month: The Hoppe's land, Stermitz's field that Hoppe leases, and a Church Universal & Triumphant hay field. Just a little effort or even a suggestion towards a compassionate solution coming from the property owners could help solve a lot of their problems. Regardless, the time for "tolerance" in the Gardiner Basin is at its end, and buffalo are being pushed by agents into Yellowstone, or making their own way south towards their calving grounds. Only a few bulls remain there now.
BFC volunteer David Martin in handcuffs, Rob Tierney in blue, his arresting officer. BFC photo by Cindy. Click for larger image.
On Tuesday, a Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer was arrested and one of our videotapes was confiscated. Patrols were positioned across the Yellowstone River, documenting yet another hazing operation against wild buffalo from Church Universal and Triumphant land. As they were filming, they were approached by Rob Tierney, the Department of Livestock agent in charge of bison operations. He told the BFC volunteers to leave, and BFC's David Martin asked why, as we have a right to document. Tierney said "Because I said so," then gave a lawful order, later claiming they were "obstructing" even though they were across the Yellowstone River from the hazing operation, and nowhere near it's path. David asked what law the lawful order was based on and Tierney couldn't tell him, instead threatening him with arrest and followed through. David was shoved against our car, handcuffed, and eventually taken by a Park County Deputy Sheriff to the Park County Detention Center, where he was charged and released. After David's arrest, three DOL agents approached the other volunteers in that patrol and demanded that they hand over the video tape. After some questioning from the volunteers, they conceded because the DOL agents insinuated that they would break our camera if we didn't comply. The tape is now evidence in the Park County court house, and David will have his arraignment by May 13. What these volunteers found out much later was that Tierney was at their position because an additional hazing operation was going to take place up the road. Tierney could have told them that and explained the situation, but instead chose his typical, aggressive behavior.
On the left, an agent's ATV gets stuck during an attempted (and failed) hazing operation. The agents haven't been back since Sunday, so the mom and baby buffalo on the right have had some quiet time together. BFC photos by Cindy and Stephany, repsectively. Click for larger images.
The Montana Department of Livestock doesn't always get their way, though. On Sunday, DOL inspector Bridger Cunningham, a new DOL agent named Clay, and our local Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks game warden Jim Smolzynski brought all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) out to the Denny Creek/South Fork area of the Madison River. This is an awesome landscape with rolling, grassy hills and lots of fresh water; great buffalo habitat. A few small groups of buffalo were there, but some of the private land is owned by the Povah's -- hobby ranchers who made their millions as concessionaires inside Yellowstone but who hate the Park's wildlife. The three agents attempted to haze the buffalo out of the area but the ground conditions--not enough snow for snowmobiles yet too much snow for horses or ATVs-- favored the buffalo. After a few hours of spinning their wheels and getting stuck, they gave up and haven't been back since. A few baby buffalo have been born here since then, and thanks to the weather, they've been able to have some peace and time to get a little stronger before the agents return.
WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!
* This Week's BFC Video: Mad Science Goes Buffalo Wild
Buffalo Field Campaign 4/30/14
Mad Science Gone Buffalo Wild
Special interests govern the management of our last wild Buffalo with your tax dollars. Here are two examples: removing Buffalo from private yards and a birth control study conducted by USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. Birth control for the last wild Buffalo on Earth. Good idea?
This week's video shows more of how special interests govern the management of our last wild Buffalo with our federal tax dollars. Here are two examples: removing Buffalo from private yards and a birth control study conducted by USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. An amazingly disturbing scene of APHIS employees chasing down a newborn buffalo calf to net it so they can tag it like livestock. You see a lot of confusion in the herd as the baby tries to find its mom, who has also been misused by APHIS's mad scientists. Birth control for the last wild Buffalo on Earth. How in the world is this a good idea?
* The BFC Show Podcast Interview with Cofounder Mike Mease
BFC file photo by Stephany. Click here for larger view.
CLICK TO LISTEN NOW to the latest BFC Show podcast interview with Buffalo Field Campaign cofounder Mike Mease.
* TAKE ACTION! Tell Montana's Governor: No Slaughter for Habitat!
Even if you have already done so, it is critical that everyone who cares about wild buffalo contact Montana Governor Steve Bullock and urge him to change the status quo of hazing, capture, and slaughter. Tell him to end Montana's intolerance, stop the livestock industry from hijacking the public process, and to champion the world's most important bison herds, the Yellowstone population.
* This Summer Keep it Wild with the Buffalo & BFC!
Comfrey admires a huge bull bison who approached us and walked on by during a Montana "April Shower." Shortly after this storm ended, we noticed a mama buffalo with a brand new calf. Join BFC this summer and keep it wild with the buffalo and some of our awesome family, Pat and Comfrey! BFC photo by Stephany. Click for larger image.
We're excited to announce that we're gearing up for our Summer program (June 1st until Labor Day weekend) and have started accepting volunteer applications. This summer we'll be doing a variety of community and public outreach including tabling at our new Free Buffalo Information Center located inside the Buffalo Spirit Trading Post in the town of West Yellowstone, camping and tabling inside Yellowstone National Park, and attending festivals in the area with our giant inflatable buffaloon and spreading the word about the herd. If you're interested in coming out for the summer we ask for at least a two to three week commitment. If you have any questions or would like to apply feel free to give us a call at 406-646-0070 or shoot us an email at email@example.com
*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: 647
Government Capture: 359
Buffalo Released from Capture: 41
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: 291
Poached in Yellowstone: 3
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility: 60
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner: 1
Highway Mortality: 3
Cause of Death Unknown:
Total Killed in Previous Years*
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,885
*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 ~ Rosalie Little Thunder, Pte Oyate and Darrell Geist, BFC
On the right holding a buffalo skull, BFC cofounder Rosalie Little Thunder, Pte Oyate, in 1999 when she and Joseph Chasing Horse lead forty Native people on a Walk for the Buffalo (Tatanka Oyate Mani) from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Yellowstone National Park. BFC file photo.
~ From Rosalie Little Thunder, Pte Oyate and Darrell Geist, Buffalo Field Campaign. Responding to involvement by IBMP-affiliated tribes in the slaughter of America's last wild buffalo. This open letter was sent to Tribal leaders, media, and many other news outlets on April 29, 2014. Now we share this powerful message with you.