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           Weekly Update from the Field June 26, 2014
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Landowners Halt DOL Haze, Comfrey Convicted‏
* Video & Update from the Field: Landowners Halt DOL Haze
* News: Comfrey Jacobs Convicted for Blocking Road to Buffalo Trap
* Help BFC Earn a Place Among the Top Rated Nonprofits!
* Sign Petition Requesting National Academy of Sciences Review of Brucellosis Policies
* TAKE ACTION! Keep the Pressure on Montana's Governor
* Keep it Wild with the Buffalo & BFC This Summer!
* In Appreciation of Buffalo Spirit & North Yellowstone Lodge
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Statement from Comfrey Jacobs

"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

*Video & Update from the Field: Landowners Halt DOL Haze

On Monday, BFC got a call from a property owner living off of Denny Creek Road, near the South Fork of the Madison River, a favorite place for wild buffalo. The landowner, Ed Ryberg, called to say there were about thirty cow-calf pairs of buffalo on his property and he didn't want the Department of Livestock (DOL) to haze them off. Ed and his wife are very buffalo friendly. My patrol partner Ben and I went out to Ed's place. After introducing ourselves, we gave Ed a copy of Governor Bullock's directive (PDF) stating that the DOL is not allowed on private property to haze buffalo without the landowner's permission, unless there is an "imminent threat" of brucellosis transmission to livestock. There was no "imminent threat" as the closest cow was more than two miles away, with numerous properties and fence-lines between them. Nevertheless, two DOL agents and one Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) agent soon arrived at Ed's place.

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Buffalo Field Campaign 6/26/14

6/25/14 DOL Trespass
Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) agents trespass on a local landowner's property. Landowner Ed Ryberg shows the MDOL agent a letter from Governor Bullock stating that it is illegal for the agency to come onto his property against his wishes. The agent ignores his request and trespasses, trying to move the buffalo. The buffalo have other ideas and will not move. The landowners again tell the agent to leave the property and, finally, he does without the buffalo. The MDOL agent never shows any proof of his supposed right to trespass.

Way to go Rybergs!

DOL stock inspector Jeff "Bowers" Mount asked Ed for permission to haze the buffalo, and Ed refused. DOL stock inspector Bridger Cunningham assumed authority and trespassed on Ed's property anyway, against Ed's wishes and the Governor's directive. The other two agents waited on the edge of the property. Ed Ryberg showed Bridger the letter from Governor Bullock, but Bridger completely ignored him and attempted to haze the buffalo. The buffalo had other ideas and would not move. The landowners stood up for their rights, and those of the buffalo, with very vocal opposition to this illegal trespass.

Buffalo bedded down at the Ryberg's before the DOL showed up to haze them. BFC photo by Don. Click for larger image.

While Bridger was attempting to haze, he was bluff charged numerous times by a bull buffalo. After about the fourth bluff charge, Bridger finally realized that the buffalo weren't going to go along with this government harassment. Finally, Bridger left -- without the buffalo. The DOL canceled operations for the day and the buffalo stayed where they were.

Bridger never showed Ed any proof of his supposed right to trespass. BFC would like to give thanks to the Rybergs for standing up to bullies, and for fighting for their rights and the rights of the buffalo!


*News: Comfrey Jacobs Convicted for Blocking Road to Buffalo Trap

Comfrey Jacobs blocks the road to Yellowstone National Park's bison trap on March 6, 2014. BFC file photo. Click for larger image.

On June 20, Comfrey Jacobs, the young man who blocked an access road to Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap in March, appeared before federal magistrate judge Mark Carman in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. Comfrey plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge - interfering with an agency function - at a change of plea and sentencing hearing on June 20, 2014. The judge dismissed two other charges that had been filed against Comfrey (disorderly conduct and violating a bison management closure), but rejected the sentence Mr. Jacobs and the government had agreed to in a plea agreement.

The agreement would have had Mr. Jacobs serve seven days in jail and one year of unsupervised probation with a ban from Yellowstone National Park for the duration. Mr. Jacobs also had agreed to pay $355 as restitution, the actual cost to the Park Service of removing him from the blockade. Instead, the judge sentenced Mr. Jacobs to 3 years of unsupervised probation with a ban from the Park, the $355 restitution, plus a $500 fine and what was titled a "community service payment" of $2,500 to a Yellowstone National Park-affiliated foundation.

The community service payment was a suggestion pressed by the U.S. government and accepted by the judge after learning that Comfrey had received financial support from the public. This aspect of the sentence is being challenged in a motion to correct the sentence filed by Comfrey through his attorney, Summer Nelson.

Read the full press release HERE. A statement from Comfrey is posted in Last Words, below. COMFREY, WE THANK YOU!

*Help BFC Earn a Place Among the Top Rated Nonprofits!

If you love our work then tell the world! You have an opportunity to help BFC make even more of a difference for the buffalo. GreatNonprofits – a review site like TripAdvisor – is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2014 Top-Rated List. Help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us. All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes! Go HERE to get started.

*Sign Petition Requesting National Academy of Sciences Review Brucellosis

Help protect our wild bison and elk from politics and special interest slaughter. Please request the National Academy of Sciences conduct a review of wildlife brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Click HERE to sign the petition now! We need 3,500 more signatures -- please share!

Many thanks to Kathryn QannaYahu of Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat for creating this petition!

* 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 now! Please also be sure to include a thank you for his new directive that forbids the Montana Department tof Livestock from hazing buffalo off of private property without permission from the property owners.

Click to take action now!

* 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 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 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

*In Appreciation for Buffalo Spirit & North Yellowstone Lodge

Buffalo Field Campaign would like to show our appreciation and thanks to Dieter and Ramona Roemer of the Buffalo Spirit Trading Post in downtown West Yellowstone for donating a space in their store for our Free Buffalo Information Center. It has allowed us to reach out to and share information with hundreds of people coming through their store. Stop by if you're in West Yellowstone and give them support!

We would also like to thank Liza Faeber for allowing us to have our camp in Gardiner this winter. She is currently running the North Yellowstone Lodge and Hostel in the Gardiner area. If you're in the area and need a place to stay with reasonable rates and support the buffalo in the process, please give them your business.

Please support those who support us!

*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: 652
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: 8
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: 4,890

*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 ~ Comfrey Root Jacobs

On June 20, I plead guilty to interfering with a 'lawful' government operation. The other two charges against me (disorderly conduct and breaking the bison management closure) were dismissed. My amazing lawyer had been helping me work out a deal with the government that was going to be a sentence of one week in jail, one year probation with a ban from the park, and restitution for my extraction. However the judge felt that this was not enough of a punishment and rejected the recommended sentence.

I was sentenced to three years probation and ban from Yellowstone, restitution amounting to $355, $500 fine, $35 court fees, and $2500 I am being forced to donate to a Yellowstone National Park affiliated nonprofit for community service because of the tremendous financial support I was shown by the public. The judge made it clear he didn't want me to profit from this and to show you that supporting these kinds of actions will be punished as well.

I refuse to let the legal system get the best of me and my activism. I will continue to work with BFC, the buffalo, and the various other social and ecological justice groups I have dedicated myself to. An important part of civil disobedience to me is being able to claim and be proud of your actions, and I am very proud of my stand against the Park Service and that's why I plead guilty. The entire intent of my action was to shut down government slaughter operations. And I succeeded, maybe for just a few hours or for the rest of the season.

We all make sacrifices for the things we love and believe in, my action and punishment is and was my sacrifice for these amazing and majestic animals. My hardships are nothing compared to that of the constant suffering the buffalo are put through during capture and slaughter, hazing operations, and APHIS's experimentation.

I hope my action was effective in raising public awareness on this issue and inspires you to take similar action on any injustice you may encounter in the world.

Thank you all so much for all of the support shown for me and America's last wild buffalo throughout this whole crazy thing. Without the public pressure put on Yellowstone after my lockdown, I feel that this year's slaughter would have had a heavier toll upon this already decimated population.


In Defense of the Wild,
Comfrey Root

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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