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           Weekly Update from the Field May 23, 2014
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Circus of Abuse Threatens National Mammal‏
* Update from the Field
* This Week's Video: Spring Showers Bring Cowboy Cowards
* TAKE ACTION! Keep the Pressure on Montana's Governor
* FedEx Truck Kills Three Wild Buffalo
* Keep it Wild with the Buffalo & BFC This Summer!
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Bruce Babbitt



"Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

* Update from the Field

  
BFC photos by Stephany. Click for larger images.

After last Wednesday's operations, the government hazers took a four-day weekend, giving buffalo in the Hebgen Basin a much-needed break from harassment. This short break allowed some buffalo to give birth in peace and to rest their hazing-inflicted injuries. Newborn calves were able to come into the world without six-legged predators chasing after them the moment their feet touched the earth. BFC patrols took advantage of this quiet time, spending long, sunny hours with the buffalo, getting to know them a little better, on their terms. Being in the presence of the buffalo is strong medicine for us. Whether it's inhaling their warm, musky scent, listening to moms and babies communicate with soft grunts, hearing the gentle clipping of sweet grasses, watching babies run 200 yards before plopping down for a quick nap, seeing them bounce and spar with their wee button horns, observing the younger buffalo keeping a close eye on the siblings while mom takes a much-needed nap, or watching the wind blow their thick manes as they rest or graze, these are the moments we live for. The buffalo give us gifts of inspiration and energy, fueling us to bear witness and advocate on their behalf. The buffalo give so much to us, and we try to give back some of ourselves in this long-term battle for their freedom.

   
BFC photos by Stephany. Click for larger image.

May 15th marks the end of Montana's so called buffalo tolerance. This week, hazing efforts were ramped up with reinforcements. One DOL hazer traded in his baseball cap for a black cowboy hat and workers from the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service -- the federal livestock overseer -- came out to join the ride against the buffalo. Over the weekend, buffalo had naturally reoccupied the habitat they'd been bullied off of last week, and having returned to the Denny Creek (image)/ South Fork (image) and Madison Arm (image) areas, they were again hit hard by hazers on Monday and Tuesday. We saw many of the same buffalo, including one injured baby belonging to a mama with a radio collar (W3, see video) forced to run mile after mile on consecutive days. This time the buffalo were pushed several miles into the interior of Yellowstone National Park. The buffalo were not without many witnesses and observers, however. Joining BFC in the field were media outlets including NBC Montana, National Geographic, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and a handful of independent media outlets, all widening the circle of awareness.

  
BFC photos by Stephany. Click for larger image.

The following morning, buffalo harassment occurred inside and outside Yellowstone National Park simultaneously. Yellowstone National Park hazes took place despite the presence of fresh tracks from a federally protected grizzly bear (image) documented and reported by BFC beforehand. One group of hazers started out after the buffalo that were hazed into Yellowstone the day before, pushing about 140 tired buffalo, including numerous newborns, deeper into Yellowstone towards Seven-Mile Bridge. This made for a two-day forced march of nearly twenty miles. Outside Yellowstone, the hazers were nine strong and hit eighty buffalo with more than twenty newborns in the buffalo-friendly Yellowstone Village, defying the wishes and property rights of the residents (image). The hazeing operation marched east with the hazers showing a repugnant theatrical display of cowboy behaviors and sounds; all through the Gallatin National Forest animals fled at the sounds of their harsh, dominant voices. After six miles, the buffalo were pushed across Highway 191 and into Yellowstone National Park. The hazers pushed them several more miles before returning to the National Forest for a few more groups of wild buffalo.

 
BFC photos by Stephany. Click for larger image.

Twelve agents arrived at Yellowstone's boundary the following day to start hazing the exhausted buffalo where they had left them. Without their notice, two huge bull buffalo were in the trees near the boundary. A few moments after the riders took off after the buffalo, these two bulls sprinted on in the same direction, stopping to spar and jump around before taking off again with a considerable amount of speed. The hazers ended up harassing over 200 wild buffalo with at least twenty-eight calves. In the middle of this madness a buffalo began to give birth. The hazers contemplated pushing her further, but ended up cutting her and another fifty out of the haze just a few miles from where it all finally ended for the day.

  
BFC file photos by Stephany. Click for larger image.

In all the years of withstanding extreme abuse, disrespect, harassment and genocide, not a single buffalo has ever harmed an agent. With all their massiveness, sharp horns, incredible speed and agility, the buffalo are our greatest teachers of non-violence. But a buffalo's patience does have a limit. Over the years we have witnessed buffalo bluff charge agents, particularly mama buffalo with newborn calves. They threaten the agents with a quick turn of their body and shake of the head, never really following through. The hazers call these "alligator" buffalo, blaming the behavior on the buffalo, rather than on their own inhumane actions. This season, the buffalo seem to be running out of tolerance. Bluff charges have increased and they don't stop with the turn of body and shake of head. The buffalo are chasing these agents away with serious intent, and rightfully so. It is totally within their rights to defend themselves, and so far, they've been very gentle with these abusers. One day--and it feels like it will be soon-- buffalo are going to follow through. Though they will be blamed, it will not be their fault.

WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!

* This Week's BFC Video: Spring Showers Bring Cowboy Cowards

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Buffalo Field Campaign 5/22/14

Spring Showers Bring
Cowboy Cowards

All along the Yellowstone ecosystem Buffalo are trying to enjoy Spring. Mom's giving birth, nursing newborns, eating grass and trying to relax after a long hard Winter. Unfortunately Montana cattle interests will not allow this peaceful sight to exist. The following is your tax dollars hard at work for Montana's cattle industry.

* TAKE ACTION! Keep the Pressure on Montana's Governor

Don't let the state of Montana hold America's last wild buffalo hostage in Yellowstone! 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.

Even if you've already contacted him, please do so again now!

Click to take action now!

* FedEx Semi Kills Three Wild Buffalo


BFC photo by Cindy. Click for larger image.

Early Saturday morning, during the dark hours, a southbound Federal Express semi truck ignored multiple warning signs and suggested speed limits, and plowed into two cows and one bull on highway 191 near the Madison River, killing all three. Fortunately the driver was unharmed. The bodies of the buffalo were taken to the dump to join the young bull who was hit on the Madison Arm Road earlier in the week. One of the buffalo had been pregnant, and was on her way to the calving grounds. The driver never stopped until his crushed rig broke down in the town of West Yellowstone, a few miles from the incident. The West Yellowstone Police ticketed him for littering. Pieces of his truck are still at the accident scene.

Buffalo Field Campaign has contacted Federal Express about this incident and we encourage you to as well. Please contact Federal Express and encourage them to re-route their drivers whenever possible, and to educate those drivers who travel through the Hebgen Basin about migratory bison and other wildlife, and encourage their help in advocating for safe passage infrastructure. The lives of America's last wild buffalo -- and any wildlife -- is too high a price to pay for the convenience of "The World On Time." A little awareness and consideration can go a very long way. You can also contact the Montana Department of Transportation and urge them to dedicate funding towards safe passage infrastructure on highways surrounding Yellowstone National Park.

* This Summer Keep it Wild with the Buffalo & BFC!


BFC volunteer and summer coordinator, Comfrey, enjoying an awesome moment with the buffalo on the northwest Madison bluffs. BFC file 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 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 herds. If you're interested in coming out for the summer we ask for at least a two 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 volunteersummer@buffalofieldcampaign.org

*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 bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

2013-2014
Total Buffalo Killed: 651
Government Capture: 359
Buffalo Released from Capture: 41
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: 291
Unknown Hunts:
Poached in Yellowstone: 3
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility: 60
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner: 1
Highway Mortality: 7
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: 4,889

*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 ~ Bruce Babbitt

"...And at Yellowstone National Park, the migratory herds of bison, elk and other wildlife all need more space, which can be best obtained by designating the forest lands to the West as a national monument."

~ Bruce Babbitt, Clinton Administration Secretary of the Interior, from his recent opinion editorial, What the President Can Do Right Now for Conservation, High Country News, May 13, 2014.

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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Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-0070
bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
BFC is the only group working in the field every day in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.

Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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