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           Weekly Update from the Field March 17, 2016
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Footage from the Yellowstone Trap: A Buffalo's Hell‏
* VIDEO: Footage from the Yellowstone Trap: a Buffalo's Hell
* TAKE ACTION Against Yellowstone’s Buffalo Slaughter!
* TAKE ACTION! Urge the Custer-Gallatin National Forest to Manage Habitat for Wild Buffalo in its Forest Plan Revision
* MORE ACTIONS TO TAKE! Help BFC Protect Wild Buffalo
* Buffalo in the News
* Wanted! Photos & Artwork for 2017 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendar
* In Memory & Honor of Wild Buffalo Advocates
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Why is Yellowstone Killing Wild Buffalo?

* VIDEO: Footage from the Yellowstone Trap: a Buffalo's Hell

Last week’s report and photos about what we, and the buffalo, experienced during the two-day media tour of Yellowstone’s bison trap could barely scratch the surface of the horrible things we witnessed. This brief video footage will bring you much closer.

Please watch and share this heartbreaking video. Footage from BFC and Yellowstone National Park, edited by BFC's Mike Mease.

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The Buffalo Trap

March 16, 2016
On March 8th and 9th, Yellowstone National Park organized a media tour of their Stephens Creek bison trap, where 150 wild buffalo were being held captive for slaughter and potentially quarantine. All of what you see taking place here is paid for with your federal tax dollars.

On March 8th and 9th, Yellowstone National Park organized a media tour of their Stephens Creek bison trap, where 150 wild buffalo were being held captive for slaughter and potentially quarantine. All of what you see taking place here is paid for with your federal tax dollars. Some of the footage was shot by BFC’s Mike Mease and some was captured by the Park Service's GoPro cameras. One hundred fifty of America’s last wild buffalo were run through the gauntlet of Yellowstone's Stephens Creek capture facility; 93 buffalo were shipped to slaughter by the InterTribal Buffalo Council and the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, both of which are signatories to the Interagency Bison Management Plan. Another 57 buffalo — all orphaned calves and yearlings — are still being held in the trap.

Every person working at the trap is employed by Yellowstone National Park. The Montana Department of Livestock has Yellowstone trained so well, that the Department isn't even present except when escorting buffalo to the slaughterhouses. These acts by Yellowstone National Park are horrific and criminal. There should not even be such a facility inside the world’s first national park, much less anywhere else. There is no justification for the Park Service to commit these atrocities. Yellowstone justifies its actions under the banner of the Interagency Bison Management Plan, which it could pull out of anytime. They may face a lawsuit by livestock interests if they did so, but, so what? So much new information has come to light, so much change has come to the landscape, and such a groundswell of public support has emerged for wild, migratory buffalo, that a lawsuit might be hugely beneficial. The callous behavior of Yellowstone Park Rangers and biologists who are harming the buffalo reveals the gross disconnect that these people have from the sacred beings whom they are charged with protecting, and how wantonly they are willing to betray, not only their mission, but the sacred buffalo that the whole world expects them to protect.

This video will break your heart. After watching, you will want to do something. Here are a few suggestions: Share this video with everyone you know, send it your local and regional media, and share it with the White House and your members of Congress. Tell them all to visit Buffalo Field Campaign and learn more.

Many thanks to the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the rest of our stellar legal team who made this media tour possible by representing BFC’s media coordinator Stephany Seay and journalist Christopher Ketcham in a lawsuit to gain full access to the trap. Showing the world even this brief glimpse of what Yellowstone is doing to the beloved buffalo — in service of Montana cattle ranchers — will bring us that much closer to putting an end to this madness, and bringing this trap down.

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!

* Take Action Against Yellowstone's Buffalo Slaughter!

Why does Yellowstone want to kill America’s last wild buffalo? Because Montana’s livestock industry pressures them to. There is no justification for it, no matter what the Park Service tells you. Wild bison are not overpopulated, and the so-called brucellosis threat is a livestock industry smokescreen being used to kill wild buffalo and prevent them from naturally restoring themselves to the landscape. The livestock industry’s intolerance is directly responsible for most of the threats the buffalo currently face. To end this control we must insist that federal funding is pulled from harming and killing this country's last wild buffalo, and repeal or amend Montana law, MCA 81-2-120, that places the Montana Department of Livestock in charge. With endless pressure, endlessly applied, we can get Yellowstone out of the buffalo slaughter business, and end livestock industry control.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY to help regain wild buffalo their rightful, ancestral place on the landscape.

Tell President Obama to stop Yellowstone’s buffalo slaughter! There is no justification for killing members of the world’s most important bison population, beloved the world over. Tell the President you do not want your hard-earned tax dollars spent on destroying a natural, national treasure.

Tell him you stand with the majority of Montanans who want wild, migratory bison restored in this state. Tell him bison slaughter hurts tourism, and insist that he work to end livestock industry policies of intolerance, which are the driving force behind Yellowstone’s participation in the slaughter of America’s last wild buffalo.

Demand that he cease catering to livestock industry intolerance, release the captured buffalo, and end plans to slaughter! His willing participation in slaughtering America’s last wild buffalo goes against the National Park Service’s mission and Yellowstone’s own bison science!

Thank you so much for taking these actions for the country’s last wild buffalo!

* TAKE ACTION! Urge the Custer-Gallatin National Forest to Manage Habitat for Wild Buffalo in its Forest Plan Revision

The Custer-Gallatin National Forest is revising its forest plan to guide how the agency makes decisions affecting the forest. The old plan has been in effect for 29 years and makes no mention of buffalo. Under the outdated plan, the Gallatin National Forest permitted the Montana Department of Livestock to set up traps on the forest to capture hundreds of buffalo that were shipped to slaughter. It’s time for decision makers to serve the needs of this iconic native species that has naturally returned to lands that are their birthright. Please get involved in the forest plan revision. This is your opportunity to advocate for managing habitat on America’s National Forests for migratory buffalo.

The first phase of assessment is underway and ends this summer.

The Custer-Gallatin’s assessment "involves an evaluation of relevant information including existing ecological, economic, and social conditions and trends across the broader landscape that will help inform the need to change the 1985 Forest Plan.”

The Custer-Gallatin’s assessment includes taking into account the best available science, “local information, national perspectives, and native knowledge.”

Information on how to get involved in the Custer-Gallatin’s forest plan revision can be found here.
Mary Erickson, Forest Supervisor is the official responsible for this decision.

Public comments can be sent to:

Mary Erickson, Forest Supervisor
Custer Gallatin National Forest
P.O. Box 130
10 East Babcock Ave.
Bozeman, MT 59771

TAKE ACTION: Contact the Custer-Gallatin National Forest and encourage the agency to include provisions for migratory buffalo in the revised forest plan. Ask the Custer-Gallatin National Forest to:

  • Use the best available science to ensure a place for migratory buffalo on America’s National Forests.

  • Adopt standards to manage habitat on America's National Forests to support viable populations and genetic diversity of migratory buffalo.

  • Assess local, traditional, and scientific knowledge of how migratory buffalo use America's National Forests. Biologists view buffalo as a keystone grassland species whose presence on the land enhances animal and plant diversity. In Hebgen Basin, buffalo seek out fire burned lodgepole pine forest and help restore fire-dependent habitats. Buffalo don’t linger near water sources, making a positive contribution to watershed recovery.

  • Assess using migratory buffalo as an indicator species for grassland recovery, animal and plant diversity, and watershed restoration.

  • Update your long-term habitat plan to include a keystone wildlife species that has made their presence known on America's National Forests: America’s last wild buffalo.

  • The National Forest Management Act requires the Custer-Gallatin National Forest to “provide for diversity of plant and animal communities based on the suitability and capability of the specific land area in order to meet overall multiple-use objectives.” 16 U.S.C. 1604(g)(3)(B).

  • As a driver of biological diversity, the health of grasslands and watersheds, the buffalo are well suited to indicate whether key conditions on the forest are declining or improving based on the natural distribution and migrations of this native keystone species.

  • It’s up to you to see that migratory buffalo have a place and a secure future on America’s National Forests.

* MORE ACTIONS TO TAKE! Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied

The killing of the buffalo, whether it’s through “hunting” or slaughter, is all part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), which was crafted for the benefit of livestock interests, not buffalo. Even those hunting under treaty rights are being used by Montana's livestock interests, and consequently, the IBMP, to facilitate the destruction of the buffalo and to prevent them from restoring themselves in Montana and elsewhere. Whether the excuse for these fatal tactics is brucellosis or population control, neither is based on reality and they only serve a political agenda. The IBMP exists because Montana livestock interests sued Yellowstone for “allowing" wild bison to migrate into the state, and because of a law crafted by the livestock industry — MCA 81-2-120 — which places the Montana Department of Livestock in charge of managing wild bison. One industry’s intolerance is driving a national treasure towards the brink of extinction. We know you care deeply about wild bison, and one of the single most important things you can do is to help repeal this law.

Contact Governor Steve Bullock today, and please take these other actions, even if you have already. Don’t stop until the buffalo are free to roam!

1. Montana Governor Steve Bullock needs to feel the pressure from everyone who cares about wild, migratory buffalo, enough pressure that he has no other choice but to help repeal MCA 81-2-120, the law that is driving the nefarious actions against America's last wild buffalo. Please contact Governor Bullock today, and everyday, demanding he change the status quo for wild bison in Montana by repealing MCA 81-2-120 and rejecting the government's alternatives in the newly proposed Montana-Yellowstone Bison Management Plan.

2. Help change the status quo for wild buffalo by urging your members of Congress to support BFC’s alternative to “Manage Wild Bison Like Wild Elk in Montana."


3. Submit Letters to the Editor in support of BFC's alternative to “Manage Wild Bison Like Wild Elk in Montana,” the only alternative that respects wild buffalo and their right to roam their home.

* Buffalo in the News

End of the Trail for Yellowstone Bison

Yellowstone Condemns Yellowstone Buffalo to Slaughter
BFC Press Release

Derrick Jensen: When I Dream of a Planet in Recovery
Deep Green Resistance News Service

* WANTED: Photos & Artwork for 2017 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendar

Click here to order BFC's 2016 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendars!

It’s that exciting time of year when we give a shout out to all the awesome photographers and artists out there! We are on track to create our 2017 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendar and want your Yellowstone buffalo images! Our calendar project is a true celebration of the wild buffalo of Yellowstone country, America’s last wild herds. Your generous and amazing contributions have made this an amazing buffalo exploration with stunning photos, incredible artwork, interesting facts, beautiful poetry, and inspired quotations. Please contact Stephany at bfc-media@wildrockies.org for details or to submit your images.

* In Memory & Honor of Wild Buffalo Advocates

Phillip Ortiz in honor of Richard Valdez

Alberto Galvan in memory of Arlene Daisy

Conrad Szymkowicz in honor of Carolyn Grew

Dr.'s John & Sophie Bilezikian in loving memory of Sara Bilezikian

Phillip Ortiz in honor of Brenden Smith and in memory of the west African Black Rhino

Colleen Sorensen in honor of Ryeder Kahlo-rainbourne

* By the Numbers

The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,400 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: 580
Government Capture: 150
Held for Quarantine or Slaughter: 50
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
Tribal - ITBC & CSKT Slaughter: 100
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 28
State “Damage" Hunts:
Treaty Hunts: 349
Unknown Hunts:
Wounded by Hunters & Shot by FWP/NPS or Died in Park: 50
Poached in Yellowstone:
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility:
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner:
Shot by Idaho:
Highway Mortality: 3
Cause of Death Unknown:
Elk shot under treaty right: 55

Total Killed in Previous Years*
2014-2015: 740
2013-2014: 653
2012-2013: 261
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631

Total Killed Since 2000: 6,215

* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Why is Yellowstone Killing Wild Buffalo?

Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!


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Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
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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