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           Weekly Update from the Field June 16, 2016
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More Trapped Buffalo Killed; Decision Made on South Side Habitat‏
* Update from the Field: More Trapped Buffalo Killed; Decision Made on South Side Habitat
* BFC Asks People to Protect Our National Mammal Through Billboard Campaign
* Public Meetings Scheduled for Gallatin National Forest Plan: Please Attend!
* Spend Summer in Yellowstone with BFC: Volunteers Wanted!
* TAKE ACTION! Help BFC Protect Wild Buffalo
* MUSIC VIDEO: Bison! A Great Song by the Whizpops
* In Memory and Honor of Wild Buffalo Advocates
* By the Numbers
* Last Words ~ the Whizpops

* Update from the Field: More Trapped Buffalo Killed; Decision Made on South Side Habitat

A terrified yearling buffalo tries everything to escape Yellowstone's sqeeze chute, where she is tested for exposure to brucellosis. Yellowstone's trap is the end of the line for wild buffalo, which leads only to death or domestication. Photo by Stephany, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click for larger image.

Today we learned that four more buffalo have been sent to slaughter. These buffalo were part of the group of yearlings who have been held since the end of February, awaiting approval of Yellowstone’s 50-year quarantine plan. When first captured, Yellowstone held 57 calves. In May, the Park Service reported that four of these calves had been sent to slaughter after blood-testing positive for exposure to brucellosis during another round of tests. 53 remained. Today we learned that another four have blood tested positive and have been taken to the slaughterhouse by the InterTribal Buffalo Council. The stress of confinement, being orphaned, being ripped from their families, and being tormented by humans can trigger an activation of brucellosis. And positive blood-tests don’t even mean that they are infected, only that they’ve been exposed, and it’s more than likely that the false-positive results mean that they developed antibodies. There are now 49 remaining in the trap, destined for either slaughter or life in prison. Yellowstone said they still don't have any idea when they'll make a decision about quarantine. Quarantine is not a solution to slaughter. It is a tool designed to control or kill the wild and free. Quarantine is also based on the premise that wild buffalo pose a brucellosis risk to livestock, something that is untrue. We have said it for years, and it has been confirmed by science, that elk and the unnatural feeding grounds where high concentrations of elk are fed pose the biggest brucellosis threat. We can take that even further to say that cattle are the cause of the brucellosis threat. Cattle brought this invasive disease with them when they were brought to this country and they and their human manipulators have put this disease into our wildlife populations. Brucellosis doesn’t harm wildlife outside of the livestock producers and politicians who use it as a scare tactic to control and manipulate the wild. Brucellosis has also been recently removed from the federal list of bio-terror agents (where it never belonged in the first place), so now scientists can freely develop a vaccine that works on cattle and use it on them. Better yet, cattle should be removed from the entirety of the Greater Yellowstone region. In the meantime, forty-nine young buffalo remain captive inside Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek buffalo trap, awaiting execution or a life sentence as livestock.

A wild yearling buffalo captured only by this photograph. Big skies, vast earth, and the comfort of his family should be the only things surrounding him. Photo by Stephany, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photo for larger image.

The debate is over, but only for now: buffalo are not allowed to access any of their habitat south of the Madison River, west of Yellowstone National Park. Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s legal team has thrown a bone to the Montana Department of Livestock, who were bored this spring, prevented from hazing wild buffalo. Buffalo maintain the victory of year-round access to habitat on Horse Butte and lands north, but this most recent interpretation of the Governor’s decision fragments the buffalo’s habitat, literally cutting in half the lands that they choose to use when migrating into Montana's Hebgen Basin. One ranching family, the Povah’s, is the cause for this. They are the only ones who bring cows into that corridor for a few summer months. This is the one cattle outfit in the entire Hebgen Basin insisting that buffalo be abused or killed for their benefit. Ironically, part of the year-round habitat the buffalo have reclaimed in the Red Canyon area has a patchwork of private lands that also run summer cows. Buffalo may be hazed off of that private property, but they are allowed in the area. What makes the Povahs so special?

Fewer than four dozen buffalo and about half as many newborn calves remain around Horse Butte. The rest of the buffalo who spent spring in the Hebgen Basin have all made their own choice, on their own schedule, to migrate east into Yellowstone, to join up with other buffalo families before the rut. The buffalo prove once again that hazing was never necessary. Times are changing, and with buffalo gaining year-round habitat and the majority of residents celebrating, and with the unsustainable nature of the livestock industry becoming more and more apparent, things are working in the buffalo’s favor. We'll continue to stand with them, with your help, in their defense. And we’ll never stop until wild buffalo roam free all over this land!

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
~ Stephany

*BFC Asks People to Protect Our National Mammal Through Billboard Campaign

Billboard design by Cindy Rosin, Buffalo Field Campaign. The image people see on the highway will have a web address in the bottom right-hand corner, which will be up along with the billbord on June 20. Click for larger image.

People traveling west through Montana, where I-90 and I-94 merge, should be on the lookout for a special billboard, urging help for protecting the wild aspect of our national mammal, the Yellowstone herds. The web address will take people to a page that gives a brief description of the big difference between wild and domestic buffalo, highlights the ongoing mismanagement and endangered status of wild, migratory buffalo, and gives people a link to send a letter to Montana Governor Steve Bullock. The billboard will make its appearance on June 20, and will be up for four months, catching the eyes of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of highway travelers, many of whom will be headed to Yellowstone. These billboards are expensive, but are a great way to reach many people with a critical message. We also have an opportunity to put up a second billboard targeting travelers coming towards Yellowstone from lands south and west. We’ll share the web page in the next Update, and if you can help us raise some money to maintain this one and/or put up a second one, that would be wonderful! You can make a secure donation. If you’re traveling through this corridor and see the billboard, take a photo and share it with us.

*Public Meetings Scheduled for Gallatin National Forest Plan: Please Attend!

The Forest Plan is an overarching document that provides guidance for forest management on the Custer Gallatin National Forest for years to come. “Initial public meetings were well attended and we heard from a variety of people,” said Forest Plan Revision Team Leader, Virginia Kelly, “with this second set of meetings we would like to start the conversation out focusing on what we’ve found to date, changes that we see coming to the forest plans; while also providing an opportunity to hear from those attending the meetings and webinars about what they care about and want to see from the Forest.” Help persuade the Forest Service to manage habitat for the wild buffalo herds who migrate from Yellowstone National Park! More information can be found here.

Public meetings are set for 8 communities, along with 3 webinars:
Monday, June 20 – Big Timber, MT – 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Sweet Grass County High School Cafeteria
Tuesday, June 21 – Red Lodge, MT – 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Edgar Gruell Bldg, Carbon County Fairgrounds
Wednesday, June 22 – Gardiner, MT – 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Gardiner Community Center
Tuesday, June 28 – West Yellowstone, MT – 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Povah Community Center
Wednesday, June 29 – Bozeman, MT – 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Chief Joseph Middle School Multipurpose Rm.

Webinar: *All times listed are Mountain Standard Time, webinars available on mobile device through Adobe Connect App.
Thursday, June 23 – 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 30 - Two Sessions – 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. OR 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

* 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!

* 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. 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.

3. 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."


4. 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.

* MUSIC VIDEO: Bison! A Great Song by the Whizpops

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Bison by The Whizpops

A lyrics video for the tribute song to
our national mammal, the American Bison
From the Whizpop album
"Ranger Rick's Picks Vol. 1"


Click the image or here to hear Bison!

The Whizpops are a fun band based in Missoula, Montana, creating music about endangered species, catered towards kids. They have just released this wonderful song, Bison, from their album, Ranger Rick’s Picks, Vol 1. BFC got to team up with them to help create the music video, which features our photos. This great song is one that will get stuck in your head! Give it a listen, sing along, share it with the young ones in your life! Learn more about the Whizpops and the fun, educational songs they create to help endangered species. Many thanks to the Whizpop’s Casey Schaefer for letting us be a part of this terrific buffalo song!

* In Memory and Honor of Wild Buffalo Advocates

Barbara Van Duren in memory of John Hagerman

Susannah Lyle in honor of Karla Brandt

Louise Dockery in memory of barb abramo

Joseph Glewwe in honor of Dashiel Glewwe

Adam Tews in honor of Eddie Tews

Grant Kline in memory of Isabelle Kline

* 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: 602
Government Capture: 150
Held for Quarantine or Slaughter: 49
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
Tribal - ITBC, CSKT, & Sho-Ban Slaughter: 101
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: 16
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: 6,236

* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ The Whizpops

“Bison, bison, where did you go?
We’ve been missing you out on the prairie you roamed
Things haven’t been the same since you’ve been gone
We want you back and the fact is that this is where you belong.”

~ The Whizpops, Bison

Listen to the whole song.

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

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Media & Outreach
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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