* Update from the Field
Photos by Thia Martin. Click for larger images.
Another hazing operation, the second of the year, took place yesterday. More than fifty buffalo, with at least twenty calves, were chased from habitat on the south side of the Madison River by three Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) agents. The agents have been itching to haze buffalo, and yesterday they got their thrill, though it is questionable if these unjustified actions were legal. The Governor’s year-round habitat decision contains contradictory language and maps, and it seems the different agencies are interpreting it differently. According to BFC’s recent discussions with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), lands south of the Madison River and east to the South Fork are part of the buffalo’s year-round habitat. Instead of the language, the DOL is going by the map, which shows less habitat. These agencies, who are supposed to be working together, are clearly not on the same page, and the DOL is taking advantage of the confusion. After being chased through a forest heavily covered with fallen trees, the buffalo were forced to swim across the Madison. Exhausted after such abuse, the buffalo quickly bedded down, grazed, or began nursing as soon as the DOL quit harassing them.
Photos by Stephany, BFC. Click for larger view.
Buffalo in other portions of Hebgen Basin are enjoying themselves, roaming around as they please, and many others have already migrated into Yellowstone on their own. The majority of the people who live in Horse Butte’s Yellowstone Village are having some of their dreams come true, waking up in the company of wild buffalo who are under no threat from the government agents. It is still taking us some time for this monumental achievement to sink in, but we are celebrating! Most of the baby buffalo in the Hebgen Basin have never experienced being hazed, and hopefully they never will. Obviously, there are still threats on lands south of the Madison River, and we’re pressing the agencies to get on the same page. We will continue to do what it takes to erase all of the lines in the sand until wild buffalo may roam wherever they want.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Spend Summer in Yellowstone with BFC: Volunteers Wanted!
Buffalo Field Campaign is seeking volunteers who have an earnest desire to help our national mammal, the buffalo, roam wild and free! We are seeking people comfortable with talking with Yellowstone visitors to help run our summer outreach program. This is the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service and Yellowstone is expecting millions of visitors; this is a great opportunity to help educate and inspire people! Volunteers get to spend five days a week camping in beautiful Yellowstone National Park. You'll spend your days enjoying all that the landscape has to offer, from relaxing in the Boiling River, to watching a mama black bear with her cubs. You'll have the amazing opportunity of seeing buffalo during the rut while helping to do outreach on their behalf. Educating park visitors on the plight of America's last wild bison is one of the most important parts of what we do here at Buffalo Field Campaign. While tabling you'll meet people from all over the world and bring the buffalo's story to them. During the five days in the Park, volunteers will share a tent at various campgrounds in and around Yellowstone. When volunteers are not tabling, adventuring in the park is one of the many benefits of summers in Yellowstone, with plenty of places to hike, swim, and enjoy nature. There are also two days a week when volunteers will be back at our main cabin to relax.
If this sounds exciting to you, please contact us at VolunteerSummer@buffalofieldcampaign.org or call 406-646-0070. We look forward to hearing from you!
* Pacific Grove, CA: BFC Needs Your Help for West Coast Road Show Event!
BFC is looking for someone to help us promote our West Coast Road Show event in Pacific Grove, CA. This event will be on Oct. 6 at the Pacific Grove Museum at 7 PM. We need someone to print and distribute posters of the event, contact local print and radio media and have them cover the event, and contact other groups that could help spread the word. Any way you can help spread the word will be great! We are excited about doing the event here, but it’s a costly one, so we really need a point person to help make the event a success. Please contact Mike at email@example.com or 406-646-0070 if this is something you can help with. Thanks for your never ending support.
* TAKE ACTION! Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied
1. 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. 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. Comment period ends June 1, 2016.
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.
* 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: 598
Government Capture: 150
Held for Quarantine or Slaughter: 53
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Tribal - ITBC, CSKT, & Sho-Ban Slaughter: 97
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: 16
Cause of Death Unknown:
Elk shot under treaty right: 55
Total Killed in Previous Years*
Total Killed Since 2000: 6,232
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ John Trudell
"We must be willing in our lifetime to deal with reality. It's not revolution; it's liberation. We want to be free of a value system that's being imposed on us... Liberation --we want to be free. But in order for us to be free we have to assume...our responsibility. We are going to have to struggle for it. We are going to have to work [and be] committed to it. We must never underestimate our enemy. Our enemy is committed against us 24 hours a day. They use 100% of their efforts to maintain their ...status quo. 100% of their effort goes into deceiving us and manipulating us against each other…"
~ John Trudel
Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!