Hello Buffalo Supporters,
Good Day to you all. This month’s issue of On the Buffalo Trail is brought to you during trying times here in Nez Perce Country. Wildfires dominate the landscape and their smoke fills the air. Many subsistence gathering and fishing opportunities have been missed due to the extreme weather events we’re experiencing in the Pacific Northwest. These events have long been forecasted by climate change experts. If you monitor the news, you will see these extreme events are taking place around the world. With the daily temperatures we’ve realized so far, the summer of 2021 will go down as the hottest on record for the world. As my air conditioner struggles to keep pace with the blistering heat outdoors, I consider the potential climate change impacts to Yellowstone bison. These extreme weather conditions should give renewed impetus to act for Yellowstone bison and the ecosystem on which they depend. Time is not on our side.
Buffalo Field Campaign has long advocated for the conservation of wild Yellowstone bison and the ecosystem upon which they depend. The Campaign understands the immediacy required to build resilience against the impacts of climate change and habitat degradation. As a keystone species, wild bison can support the resilience of the ecosystem thereby increasing the capacity of other species to persist in an uncertain future. Coincidentally, bison also require large intact ecosystems to maintain their genetic diversity and resilience against environmental impacts. Currently, they do not have access to enough of the Yellowstone Ecosystem, nor is their population large enough to withstand the impacts of climate change or human impacts. More must be done to protect wild Yellowstone bison.
As with any ecosystem, all species within fulfill a specific niche. The Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Central Herd of bison have historically possessed such a relationship. This symbiosis must be restored, fostered, and protected. The Central Herd of bison have never left their ancestral homelands. Yet the important lifeways of the Central Herd are being severely hindered by the Inter-agency Bison Management Plan. Montana and federal agency actions are crippling the ancient wisdom of the terrain beyond the park boundary.
During these uncertain times, we must drive home the message to our elected officials that the natural world deserves protection. It is becoming all too common for us to write concerning a diminished future wrought by climate change impacts. Society must come to grips with the fact that today’s extreme weather events are showing us that time is now. Climate change is here. We will continue to educate the world on the needs of the Yellowstone Ecosystem and the wild bison living there. Like many communities, wild bison populations are experiencing climate adversity and extreme weather events. We will use our collective voices to call for positive change. I hope you, your loved ones, and the natural places near your home are faring well.
For the Buffalo,
James Holt Sr.
Executive Director, Buffalo Field Campaign
“The Earth and I are of One Mind.”- Chief Joseph, Nimiipuu (Nez Perce)