Patagonia, Inc and Buffalo Field Campaign Join Forces for America's Last Wild Herd

For Immediate Release:
July 17, 2006

Mike Mease: (406) 646-0070
Dan Brister: (406) 726-5555
Patagonia, Inc., Jen Rapp: (805) 667-4768

Billings, Montana - Buffalo Field Campaign and Patagonia, Inc, are launching a billboard campaign today to focus attention on Yellowstone National Park's role in the ongoing slaughter of the Yellowstone bison, America's only continuously wild herd.  More than one in five members of the herd, or over 1,000 buffalo, were killed by Montana and federal agencies during the winter of 2005-2006.

Featuring the silhouette of a bison on the Yellowstone landscape, the billboards read: "Yellowstone National Park Kills Thousands of Buffalo.  Ask them, Why?"  One billboard will face westbound traffic near the confluence of Interstates 90 and 94 in Billings and one will be located eight miles north of the Park's west entrance near West Yellowstone, MT.  The billboards will run for at least six months starting today.

"Yellowstone killed more than 900 bison this year alone," said Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign.  "We designed these billboards to hold Park officials accountable for their actions and to remind them that they answer to the American people, not the vested interests of Montana's livestock industry," he said.

"The Bison are an integral part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem," said Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan.  "Their protection is essential both within and outside the Yellowstone Park boundary.  BFC is working on the ground to ensure the public is aware of what is happening to American's last wild buffalo herd.  The two billboards near the entrances of Yellowstone National Park raise the question of why the buffalo are being captured, hazed and slaughtered."

The billboard campaign is part of BFC's Education and Outreach Program, aimed at empowering citizen action on behalf of the irreplaceable Yellowstone herd.  Other aspects of the program include a BFC information table inside Yellowstone Park and BFC's annual road shows, when BFC volunteers share video, photos, news, and stories through a series of coast-to-coast presentations in order to build lasting protection for the Yellowstone bison.

Numbering fewer than 4,000, the Yellowstone bison comprise America's only continuously wild herd.  Bison are a migratory species native to North America and once spanned the continent, numbering between 30 and 50 million.

Fear that bison may transmit the livestock disease brucellosis to cattle is the purported justification for the slaughter of wild buffalo by state and federal agencies.  However, there has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to livestock and none of the adult bison slaughtered by the Park Service this year were first tested for brucellosis.

"The Yellowstone herd is a national treasure, a living embodiment of America's wild and untamed spirit," said Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "Rather than spending time and resources on their capture and slaughter, the Park Service should be working to protect the buffalo and their critical habitat."

Patagonia, with sales last year of $260M, is noted internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism.  Its Environmental Grants Program has contributed over $25M to grassroots environmental activists since the program began in 1985, and its Environmental Internship Program allows employees to work for environmental groups while receiving their full paycheck.  Incorporating environmental responsibility in to product development, the company has, since 1996, used only organically-grown cotton in its clothing line, and is noted world-wide for using recycled soda bottles in many of its polyester fleece garments.  Known for a unique corporate culture, the company has been recognized for many years by Working Mother magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers," and is a regular recipient of recognition by Fortune and Human Resources Management magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America. "