Dear Buffalo Supporters,

It’s been a long while since my last edition of On the Buffalo Trail. I hope you and yours are doing well. There’s a lot going on regarding wild Yellowstone buffalo. The state-led onslaught against wildlife such as buffalo, grizzly bears, and wolves, continues across the Rocky Mountains. The viability of the world’s ecosystems is on the decline worldwide, and still politicians cater to special interests who benefit from existing habitat degradation and fragmentation. While we may have failed on massive logging operations in the region, like minded folks are coming together to support the development of the infrastructure in a way that benefits wildlife and protects commerce. There are practical solutions that can bring the important players together.

bfc on the buffalo trail august 2023

It was inspiring to read about the increase of buffalo permitted translocation via the efforts of the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council. The Campaign has called for the end of the slaughter since our creation in 1997. More buffalo available for that program translates to less buffalo being sent to needless slaughter. We’ve always supported tribal lifeways and the treaties and sovereignty they possess. Our effort is to inform those tribal leaders, both treaty tribes and translocation tribes, of the needs of wild buffalo in their existing homeland. - Which is why we are hosting a tribal summit for those tribes to hear our message. - Our science, local civic development, and holistic scope provide important elements as tribes and others do their good work.

Our holistic, pragmatic solutions consider the Yellowstone Ecosystem and the only continuously-wild populations of buffalo located there. The Central Herd is still in peril. Our 500 page-long Threats Analysis clearly highlights the potential impacts to the viability of Yellowstone buffalo. The ecosystem has 8 million acres of readily available habitat outside the park boundaries. The wild populations have an ecosystem to heal and nurture, that is their traditional homelands. The Campaign is providing the leadership to improve the transportation infrastructure with the addition of wildlife vehicle collision mitigation structures near West Yellowstone, MT, along highway 191. That location is the zone of death for wild buffalo, as they are struck by more vehicles there than any other place in the region. We know how we can build up the region to support much larger populations of wild buffalo. Large landscape preservation begins with keystone species upon it. Many other species in the ecosystem rely on wild buffalo and the strength of their presence on the land.

Our leadership in developing the wildlife crossing project is continuing forward. Over 75,000 people have signed our petition calling for its construction. More groups are joining the coalition as a longtime coming sensible solution. Protecting wild buffalo and maintaining their wild characteristics is of paramount importance. The preservation of their wildness as a keystone species is critical in preserving this large landscape to build resilience against extreme weather events, climate change, and human-caused habitat degradation. Wild buffalo must be able to do their wild thing in wild places. Migration, soil tillage, eating grasses and fertilizing the land, all of these are important functions that only they can perform in such a capacity. Our futures, especially those who live within the Yellowstone region, are tied to the presence of the wild buffalo and so many other species.

Your support helps in developing long-term solutions that build resilience into the viability of wild buffalo, and the communities that rely on these natural places for their livelihoods. We’re all in this together. We’re building solutions in those places where we can, and informing the world when our solutions are cast aside. Qeciyewyew (thank you) for standing with us as we do this fulfilling work. It is difficult to watch these wild populations ebb and flow at the hand of man. The natural world has a way, such as with all the other wildlife in the region. Together, we can ensure buffalo are allowed their freedom to persist their way. Take care, and have a good day.

For the Buffalo,
James L. Holt, Sr.
Executive Director
Buffalo Field Campaign

“The Earth and I are of One Mind.”- Chief Joseph, Nimiipuu (Nez Perce)