* Update from the Field: Horse Butte Victory & Thank You!
The south-facing slope of Horse Butte and a small family of buffalo enjoying this important homeground. Year-round presence has now been granted to the buffalo! Photos by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photos for larger images.
We have great news: year-round habitat on Horse Butte has been approved! In January, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued his decision to grant year-round habitat for wild buffalo on Horse Butte and other lands north and west of Yellowstone. This decision had to be approved by the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) decision-makers, and at yesterday’s IBMP meeting, there was full consensus to accept the Governor’s decision. This is a profound victory for wild buffalo, something BFC has been fighting for for nearly twenty years, and we could not have achieved this without you. The decision will go into affect this spring, so all of the buffalo who are now heading to their Horse Butte calving grounds should be able to give birth and raise their babies in peace! It’s not a perfect decision, as there are some lands that the buffalo use which have now been taken away, and there are some population caps for the number of buffalo who can inhabit Horse Butte during different seasons, but it is an awesome first step. We will continue to press for more buffalo on a much larger landscape, but for now, please celebrate this significant victory and think about all the baby buffalo and their moms and families who will be able to live in peace and make their own choices for the first time in over 100 years.
More road signs are on their way, thanks to you! These are some of the most important tools we use to save the buffalo. Thank you so much for you swift response! Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photo for larger image.
We also want to thank you very, very much for responding to our call last week to help us purchase new road signs. You came through within a single day! You are all so amazing — thank you! We have ordered our new signs and they should be here sometime next week. Our patrols are extremely busy on the highways right now, morning into the very late hours of night, warning traffic and trying to prevent buffalo from being hit. We receive terrific positive feedback from the community and other wildlife advocates because we are making a big difference. Even so, it is not enough. As we’ve said, there are some people who just don’t heed the warnings. Late last night, despite our signs, another buffalo was hit and killed. It is imperative that we pressure Montana to implement safe passage infrastructure — overpasses and underpasses — so wildlife can move safely through their migration corridors without ever having to step foot on the highways. Please take action on this important issue.
The next generation is coming! Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click for larger view.
In Gardiner things have really calmed down. Yellowstone’s trap was closed for the rest of the season last Thursday with the agency falling short of their kill target by 300 buffalo. Fifty-seven calves and yearlings will remain in the trap until Yellowstone makes its decision on an operational quarantine (domestication) plan. Yellowstone states they are still sifting through the public comments they received and it is unknown when they will make a decision. Outside of the trap, most of the buffalo have headed deeper south, into the Park’s interior, to their calving grounds in the Blacktail Plateau and Lamar Valley. In fact, buffalo calving season has already begun there! A photographer friend who was leading a wildlife tour spotted the first calf of the season in the lower Lamar Valley just a few days ago!
The next generation of wild buffalo is on the way!
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* TAKE ACTION! Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied
1. NEW! One of the most important things that can help mitigate buffalo-vehicle collisions is the implementation of safe passage infrastructure, which involves constructing bridges or underpasses that buffalo and other wildlife can use to cross the dangerous road without ever having to step foot on the asphalt. Examples of the enormous success safe passage has for wildlife are growing in the U.S., Canada, and other countries around the world. What better place for wildlife safe passage than on the edge of Yellowstone National Park? Please join us in urging the state of Montana to provide wildlife safe passage in this key migration corridor.
2. NEW! Urge the Custer-Gallatin National Forest to 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.
3. 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.
4. 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."
5.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.
* WANTED: Photos & Artwork for 2017 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendar
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 email@example.com for details or to submit your images.
* LAST CHANCE! Purchase a Deeply Discounted 2016 Calendar and Contribute to 2017!
2016 Wild Bison Calendars On Sale
Already nearly a quarter of the way through 2016, we still have some calendars left. In order to share the buffalove and get them into your hands, we are offering all remaining calendars at just $2.20 each!
Please order yours today!
* By the Numbers
The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,300 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: 587
Government Capture: 150
Held for Quarantine or Slaughter: 50
Buffalo Released from Capture:
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
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: 10
Cause of Death Unknown:
Elk shot under treaty right: 55
Total Killed in Previous Years*
Total Killed Since 2000: 6,222
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Derrick Jensen
"In the time after, the buffalo come home. At first only a few, shaking snow off their shoulders as they pass from mountain to plain. Big bulls sweep away snowpack from the soft grass beneath; big cows attend to and protect their young. The young themselves delight, like the young everywhere, in the newness of everything they see, smell, taste, touch, and feel. Wolves follow the buffalo .... please continue reading..."
~ Derrick Jensen, from his essay "When I dream of a planet in recovery"
Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!