BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the
2007-2008 Total: 1,014
2007-2008 Slaughter: 848
2007-2008 Hunt: 166
Total Since 2000: 3,740*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts
* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
1,014 wild buffalo have been killed so far this season.
This week, Yellowstone National Park captured 11 more
buffalo, and sent another 120 to slaughter from inside
the Park's northern boundary. Along the western boundary,
on Tuesday, the Montana Department of Livestock captured
a group of 13 wild buffalo. One was a lone calf who
had been orphaned during the hunt. Patrols said he gave
the agents a run for their money. The thirteen were
captured in the trap on cattle-free Horse Butte, transported
to the Duck Creek trap, and shipped to slaughter Wednesday
morning. There is no doubt that this year will constitute
the biggest wild buffalo slaughter since the 19th century.
Why does the American government bother trying to save
a species from near-extinction only to turn around and
kill it off again under the guise of "wildlife
management?" If it doesn't make sense, favors industry,
goes against the public's will and ecological integrity,
the government is sure to enact it as a policy. Please
consider contacting your House and Senate members and
urge them to invoke legislation that will stop the slaughter,
protect wild bison and their habitat, and also let them
know about the lack of response you have been getting
from all the agencies involved: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
Yellowstone National Park still holds nearly 200 buffalo
in the Stephens Creek trap. Park officials say bulls
will begin being shipped to slaughter tomorrow morning.
And, apparently, calves will begin being sorted, tested,
and shipped to the Corwin Springs quarantine facility.
It's hard to articulate, wrap your mind around, and
process this buffalo genocide. The trap, with it's pens,
corrals, and livestock trailers that take buffalo to
slaughter, can't help but make you think that you're
watching a buffalo concentration camp. Down the road,
at the quarantine facility, the government harbors their
wild buffalo assimilation program, where they are trying
to domesticate the wild, free bison, turning them into
livestock that they can control and manipulate. The
government calls this "buffalo management"
and "buffalo restoration."
Brucellosis, they say in unison with the cattle industry,
is the purported reason for it all. The perceived fear
that wild buffalo just might give it back to the cattle
they got it from. It's never happened. It's only a theory
based on fear. Yet elk and other wildlife that also
carry brucellosis are free to roam and even co-mingle
with cattle. And what should happen if the wild bison
contract some other disease from cattle? What's to protect
them? The cattle industry and government spin the theoretical
threat of disease transmission from wild bison to cattle
as a way to control the grass and who gets to eat it.
Brucellosis is not the dreaded disease that they'd lead
you to believe it is. Not in the least. You can eat
the meat of a brucellosis-infected animal. Montana's
cattle industry claims it would suffer serious economic
losses if they lost their brucellosis-free status, yet
states that have lost theirs, such as Wyoming, Idaho
and Texas, have hardly suffered at all. Please take
a moment to read this excellent piece by wildlife advocate
Robert Hoskins, "The True Cost of Brucellosis":
And what is the true cost to the last wild population
of American bison? Every buffalo that is killed is unique,
an individual, a family member with it's place in the
herd, its life to live, and story to tell. Each buffalo
is a link to both the past and the future. The buffalo
that are migrating are those who have the strength to
survive, who follow their instincts and move with the
changing landscape to where they can find food, accessing
the ancient routes their ancestors walked for thousands
Out on Horse Butte, there is just one family group left.
There are twelve of them, surviving in Yellowstone Village,
a neighborhood that has a buffalo-friendly majority
and does not welcome the Department of Livestock. In
this family group, there is this one mama buffalo who
is absolutely enormous. Her right horn is broken and
blunted, while her left is really long and doesn't have
much curve to it. She has a reddish tint to her wooly
coat. She's got the stature of a buffalo who has been
around for a very long time. She is heavy with a calf
in her belly, and she has a near yearling with her.
Very likely she is the matriarch of this group, most
others being her daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.
She carries ancient buffalo wisdom and she and her family,
like all the buffalo, have a natural right to live free,
to make their way in the world that is also theirs,
impart their wisdom to generations to come. The other
day, out on a rove patrol, we were encircled by this
family while in our car, unable to go anywhere. They
had us surrounded. It was wonderful. A couple of two-year
olds were in front of us, butt-to-butt, the gigantic
mama and her calf were right at our side, and the rest
of the group was behind us. There was nowhere for us
to go. So we basked in their presence, noting every
detail of each buffalo. Absorbing them. Enchanted by
them. How unique they all are, how they relate to each
other. The way the younger buffalo can get wily and
rambunctious, even rebellious, causing the adults to
keep them in line; the gentle guidance and protection
the mothers display; the playful nature of the yearlings,
the brave hearts of the adolescent bulls and cows taking
care of their kid brothers and sisters. When we are
good to each other, we mirror the buffalo. They mirror
us and our potential. As of this writing, this family
is still alive. Is it too much too hope that at least
they can be spared? It is dangerous to become attached,
but it is impossible not to.
* Horse Butte: Bison Trap or Buffalo Sanctuary?
In 1998, the U.S. Forest Service issued a special use
permit to the Montana Department of Livestock to operate
a buffalo trap on America's public lands on Horse Butte
for the next 10 years. The current permit expires December
The U.S. Forest Service is currently accepting public
comments during a scoping period on a plan to renew
the livestock agency's trap for another 10 years. The
Forest Service is likely to renew the livestock agency's
permit through a categorical exclusion - pre-empting
any analysis of the trap's environmental impacts.
The notice is available online at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/?page=projects/horse_butte
Please comment on this plan and help us stop the U.S.
Forest Service from allowing this madness to continue
for another 10 years. Comments are due on April 2, 2008
and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
or mailed to:
Gallatin National Forest
Attn: Horse Butte Capture Facility Special Use Permit
PO Box 120
Bozeman, MT 59771
Here are some suggested points to include in your comments:
* Why give a livestock agency a 10-year permit to trap
wild buffalo on public lands?
* Conditions on Horse butte have changed significantly
in the past 10 years, thus it is necessary for the public
lands agency to conduct a full environmental impact
* Cattle no longer graze on public or private land on
Horse Butte peninsula, 24,000 acres of critical wildlife
habitat and thus there is no justification for harassing,
trapping and removing wild Buffalo from Horse Butte.
* The department of livestock of has been not used the
Horse Butte for 3 of the last 4 years but has still
successfully implemented the IBMP without it. The Department
of Livestock also maintains a permanent capture facility
on private land, and has used a temporary facility on
already heavily impacted state owned land. If the IBMP
can be successfully implemented using other capture
facility sites with less of an impact, why use the Horse
* Horse Butte is home to 3 breeding bald eagle nests.
The livestock agency's trap is located within .5 miles
of one of the eagle nests, and in prime foraging habitat
for other bald and golden eagles that frequent the Madison
River and Hebgen Lake. The Montana Bald Eagle Management
Plan and the Greater Yellowstone Bald Eagle Management
Plan directs that developments which may increase human
activity not be permitted within .5 miles nest sites.
A standard is a standard and not a loophole to permit
the livestock agency to disrupt bald eagle habitat.
* Horse Butte is grizzly bear and wolf habitat. Moose,
elk, black bear, coyote, a lot of wildlife depend on
managing public lands on Horse Butte as wildlife habitat.
* Hebgen Lake, which surrounds Horse Butte, is critical
habitat for migratory birds, including trumpeter swans.
* Increased development on private lands on the north
side of Horse Butte has degraded available wildlife
habitat, making the south side where the trap is even
more critical for wildlife.
* The amount of livestock inspector and law enforcement
vehicle traffic associated with the trap is far higher
than predicted in the U.S. Forest Service's initial
* The original analysis called for the Department of
Livestock to perform soil reclamation including planting
native grasses on several acres impacted by the trap.
This promise has not happened and degraded available
OTHER ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT HORSE BUTTE
FOR BUFFALO: If you haven't already, please
join the over 20,000 wild bison advocates who have signed
on to the letter addressed to the people in charge of
bison management requesting that wild bison be allowed
to range on Horse Butte without being harassed, trapped
and slaughtered by government agents.
* Volunteers Needed on the Front Lines!
Have you always dreamed of coming to the Yellowstone
area? Do you want to live in one of the world's most
beautiful places with like-minded individuals? If so
then you should come and volunteer with the Buffalo
Field Campaign. Spring is one of our busiest seasons
and we are in need of volunteers to stand in defense
of the last wild buffalo. Housing is provided for volunteers
in our warm cozy main lodge with four delicious meals
cooked daily (we cater to most all food needs). This
is the eleventh year of Buffalo Field Campaign and we
could not do it with out the help of volunteers. If
you want to make a difference in the way that Yellowstone
treats wild buffalo then you should come. Contact Kasi,
the Volunteer Coordinator to plan your arrival at Buffalo
Field Campaign at (406) 646-0070 or volunteer"at"buffalofieldcampaign.org.
We hope to see you here this season!
* Keep BFC Healthy & Happy ~ Coffee &
Food Donations Needed
One way you can always help with defending the buffalo
is by donating food to support our work in the field.
We spend approximately $10 per person per week and that
leaves some gaps. We can always use donations of organic
coffee, bulk spices, pasta, chocolate, Luna bars, hot
cocoa mix, and emergen-C packets. Every donation helps
keep our volunteers on the front lines health and happy.
You can donate monetarily by going to https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807
and put "food" in the memo, or you can send
in-kind donations. All donations are tax-deductible.
If you would like a tax deductible receipt for your
in-kind donation of food, please contact the office
and include a copy of your receipt. Thank you for helping
us defend the last wild herd of buffalo. ~ BFC Kitchen
* Photo of the Week
BFC volunteer, Steve, perches in a tree to document
the capture of 13 wild buffalo on Tuesday morning. You
are looking down at the Horse Butte bison trap, seeing
DOL agents, truck and trailer, and their snowmobiles.
Buffalo are in the trap. Horse Butte is completely cattle-free
year round. The Montana Department of Livestock should
go where the cattle are. Photo by Jesse Crocker, also
in the tree.
* Last Words
A letter from a wild bison advocate to Yellowstone National
Park, the Montana Department of Livestock and Montana
Governor Brian Schweitzer:
"Dear people in charge of killing our nation's
last wild bison. (Our bison, not yours.) Please read
and heed the letter below. I have written you, Dr. Zaluski,
you, Suzanne Lewis, and also the governor of Montana
about my outrage and heartache concerning this
unwarranted and immoral slaughter. None of the three
of you has bothered with the courtesy of a reply,
in fact at times emails have not even been accepted.
This is not the way government employees should conduct their
duties in a democracy. Perhaps you do not know,
although I cannot imagine that you don't know, the thrill
for people visiting Yellowstone to see the bison there
in great numbers in their natural habitat. Should they
step across park boundaries, what of it? Artificial
park boundaries are the intruders, not the bison. I
must tell you that it appears that all of you have completely
sold out to the cattle interests. Whether or not that
is true, that is the appearance, and the Montana Department
of Livestock and all of you above appear to the rest
of the country to be a bunch of rowdy and
out of control cowboys. Is that the image you wish to
project to the rest of the nation? Each of you that
wears the park service emblem with the bison on it should
at least have the good grace to remove those patches
if you cannot ensure the safety of the bison. Otherwise
you are also guilty of hypocrisy. I am sorry to be so
harsh, but I have been begging for the lives of the
bison for years, and you do not hear. Please hear the
cries of the bison, and the people who love them. Thank
~ Myrna Fox, Wild Buffalo Advocate