* TAKE ACTION! Tell Montana You Support Year-Round Habitat for Wild Buffalo
Please comment to let Montana know you support more room to roam for America's wild buffalo! Drive the message home! Visit the Take Action link below to particpate now! Spread the word to save the herds.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Montana Department of Livestock have initiated a scoping process for a proposal to allow "some" bison access to year-round habitat on "portions" of Gallatin National Forest in Montana's Hebgen and Gardiner Basins, west and north of Yellowstone National Park. These are the very places where wild buffalo currently attempt to migrate and face conflict and death. Montana is leaning towards allowing only bull bison access to these important areas, while family groups with calves would continue to be abusively forced off of birthing grounds each spring. All wild buffalo - not just bulls - are in dire need of year-round habitat outside of Yellowstone National Park. Access to important habitat will help alleviate harsh and unnecessary management actions and will help enable the survival and evolutionary potential of this currently ecologically extinct native wildlife species. This scoping process is a terrific opportunity for us to put forth our vision for wild bison in southwest Montana.
Comment period ends August 24, 2012.
* Update from the Field: Idaho Kills Second Bull Buffalo
A bull moves with intention through Yellowstone's Hayden Valley. It is the season of the rut, and he has one thing on his mind. BFC file photo by Darrell Geist. Click photo for larger image.
Thank you all for your emails, phone calls and actions concerning the bull buffalo that was senselessly shot and killed near The Nature Conservancy's Flatt Ranch by Idaho authorities two weeks ago. This tragic and unnecessary incident was unfortunately repeated the following Saturday when Idaho's Department of Agriculture shot a second bull bison. This migratory path from lands west of Yellowstone National Park is important to wild bison, taking them south along the Southfork of the Madison River, into Idaho over Targhee Pass and, eventually, down through Yellowstone's high volcanic plateau onto grasslands buffalo have called home for millennia. Idaho's lack of tolerance for wild buffalo - a position that ensures the extinction of wild bison in the state - is based on the same selfish and unfounded fears that Montana holds: that of the livestock disease brucellosis, which wild buffalo have never transmitted back to the cattle they originally contracted it from.
Bill Barton, Idaho's State Veterinarian, Division of Animal Industries, Idaho Department of Agriculture, issued the following statement about Idaho's bison policy: "The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is responsible for administering Title 25 Chapter 6 of Idaho Code. As stated in that statute, a significant potential exists for the spread of contagious disease to persons, livestock and other animals in Idaho, in particular, the spread of brucellosis to livestock...from bison emigrating into Idaho from Yellowstone National Park and its environs. The statute requires that wild bison be removed from the state by one of two options: the live bison may be physically removed or hazed from within the state or, if removal/hazing is not feasible, the bison may be destroyed."
Wild bison are a state-listed species in Idaho, critically endangered and in need of greatest conservation. And as wild buffalo attempt to restore themselves naturally, Idaho guns them down.
Yellowstone's summer bison population estimate was just released and reveals that there are fewer than 4,300 wild American buffalo left in the country.
A wet, woolly bull buffalo emerges from a summer swim in Yellowstone's Hayden Valley. BFC file photo by Darrell Geist. Click photo for larger image.
Please help BFC get the word out for wild buffalo! These native herbivores, critical to the health of various grasslands ecosystems - are in dire straights. You can help spread the word to save these last wild herds by requesting newsletters to place around your community. The more people who know about what is happening to our wild, woolly friends, the sooner their mistreatment will end. Please contact Kasi to request any amount of newsletters that you can share with others.
Another great way to help wild buffalo is to instill the majesty and beauty they embody with others. BFC's 2013 Wild Bison calendars are a terrific way to share the wonders of wild buffalo with your friends, coworkers and family and help celebrate wild buffalo 365 days a year. The more we know about these intensely fantastic animals, the better we will be prepared to advocate lasting protections for them.
Thank you all for being with us for wild buffalo! Thank you for keeping us on the front lines, in the courtrooms, in the policy arena, and everywhere we can be to champion the sacred wild buffalo. A special thanks goes out to Stefan Bergill, who has gifted BFC co-founder Mike Mease with a fresh tool for communicating to the masses - thank you Stefan for the laptop! Thanks to each and every one of your for all that you do to make our work in defense of wild buffalo possible. Together, we are Buffalo Field Campaign, and we will press on until wild buffalo roam free again over the lands that are their birthright!
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Bison Habitat Lawsuit Appeal Heard in Seattle
On August 6, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard an appeal of our bison habitat lawsuit which was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Charles C. Lovell.
Our lawsuit is a coalition effort of conservation groups, Native Americans, and Montanans who are seeking relief from the National Park Service for their role in slaughtering more than 3,300 wild American buffalo that inhabit Yellowstone National Park. The U.S. Forest Service is also named in the suit for their decisions precluding migratory buffalo and associated species from occupying and using Gallatin National Forest lands and failing to ensure viable populations of buffalo and associated species exist on the Forest.
Oral arguments on behalf of the buffalo were made by attorneys Summer Nelson of Western Watersheds Project and Rebecca K. Smith of Public Interest Defense Center before a three judge panel. Audio of the appeal hearing is online.
The government's attorney made plain that the state and federal agencies behind the Interagency Bison Management Plan expect the plan to go on "indefinitely." Where the indefinite supply of taxpayer money will come from was not addressed.
Unless the agencies take a look at viable alternatives that new science calls for, the American taxpayer is going to continue to pay for the destruction of the buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park and fund the forced removal of buffalo from habitat needed for their survival on the Gallatin National Forest.
The plaintiffs have asked the 9th Circuit to review both agencies' refusal to analyze and disclose new information and changed circumstances and to make informed decisions with the best available science about wild bison and related species in the Yellowstone ecosystem.
* BFC is Seeking Summer Outreach Volunteers
This could be you! Demmi and Liz represent BFC and America's last wild buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park. BFC file photo. Click photo for larger image.
Buffalo Field Campaign is a presence inside Yellowstone National Park every summer, and we are looking for passionate, articulate folks who can help run our information table, discuss the buffalo with park visitors, and help build support for wild buffalo. BFC provides food, lodging, and transportation to and from our table in the Park. We ask for at least a two week commitment in order to accommodate training and orientation. This is a great opportunity to get involved and advocate for America's last wild buffalo! Please contact Demmi for more information.
* Join BFC for Wood Cut Week at BFC September 10-15, 2012
Mark your calendars and come to BFC! The week of September 10th through the 15th is BFC's Annual Wood Cut Week. We will be gathering, cutting, and stacking wood for the coming winter field season. Bring your chain saw if you have one and bring lots of friends! Room and board will be provided and there's also plenty of camping space available. Please contact Mike Mease for more info or call 406-646-0070.
* Bay Area/SF Supporters: BFC Needs Help with the John Trudell Event!
If you live around San Francisco or the Bay Area, BFC is looking for folks who can help us with a very exciting BFC Road Show event with John Trudell. If you are able to lend a hand, please contact Mike Mease or call 406-646-0070. Thank you!
* By the Numbers
AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 4,300 individual buffalo. Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
2011-2012 Total Buffalo Killed: 33
2011-2012 Government Capture: 10
2011-2012 Buffalo Released from Capture: 7
2011-2012 Government Slaughter:
2011-2012 Held for Government Experiment: 3
2011-2012 Died In Government Trap:
2011-2012 Miscarriage in Government Trap:
2011-2012 State & Treaty Hunts: 28
2011-2012 Shot by Agents: 3
2011-2012 Killed by Angry Residents:
2011-2012 Highway Mortality: 2
2010-2011 Total: 227
2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
* Total Since 2000: 4,008*
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, highway mortality
* Last Words ~ Buffalo Memories
Beautiful majestic Buffalo
roaming the plains and prairies
Two thousand pounds of
The past, The now, The future
Indians, Soldiers, White men, Pioneers,
Settlers, Hunters, all part of the past
the now and the future
Now the millions of Buffalo just a memory
Buffalo souls snort the ancient
memories of yesterday
The bellowing roars of male dominance
The old days of buffalo slaughter in the
name of amusement, destruction, ignorance
So called progress still in the minds of men
Now history repeating it's ugly, hideous
We cannot ignore the past
We must not neglect the now
Or there will be no future
Oh, wild friend,
We smile inside for your beauty
~ LaVon D. Brillhart, BFC supporter
Thank you so much LaVon! If anyone has submissions for Last Words just send them to us. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you have been sending! Keep them coming!