Since my last update, fundamental aspects of our lives have been altered by the Coronavirus pandemic gripping the nation. Before I begin, I must thank all of you wonderful folks that provide “essential” services, and keep the rest of us provided for. I am grateful for the continuity during this time of hardship. While Buffalo Field Campaign may not be deemed essential, we have remained at Brother Buffalo’s side. As long as there are buffalo on the landscape, so are we. These past few months we witnessed the horrible impacts of the Inter-agency Bison Management Plan and the winter actions that take place. Those deplorable actions have wiped out approximately 1/5 of the Yellowstone buffalo herds.
Unfortunately, hardship for the buffalo is not over. In West Yellowstone we have shifted operations to protecting the herds from the dangers of highway traffic. As buffalo migrate to lower elevations in search of forage and their spring birthing grounds, we strive to keep them from becoming highway fatalities. During this time, we are also continuing our advocacy in the legal arena, with our Freedom of Information Act complaints slowly advancing to divulge the public records we have long sought from the Secretary of the Interior’s office and Yellowstone National Park’s Superintendent. We also continue to build and strengthen our relationships within the buffalo community. Buffalo Field Campaign will continue to work diligently on behalf of all of you.
While my sympathies go out to all those impacted by the current pandemic, this period of social isolation has shown the potential outcomes that healing the natural world provides. Air pollution over major industrial cities has cleared up after decades of obscuring the skies. There was also a significant drop in respiratory related hospital visits in those same cities. In other areas, aquatic species returned to waterways too polluted to enter before the stay-at-home orders were implemented. Wednesday April 22nd is Earth Day. As the nation begins to consider life after quarantine, I hope all of us will consider our relationship with Mother Earth. As a society we can do better in respecting nature, and strengthening the ability of all beings to persist in an unknown future. Given the opportunity, buffalo will fill their ecological niche and build resilience against climate change and disease. Until necessary population growth is achieved in the Yellowstone ecosystem, our National Mammal deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act, protection Buffalo Field Campaign is striving to secure with our partners Western Watersheds Project and Friends of Animals, in court in Washington, D.C..
I send my positive vibrations out to all of you good people. As we traverse these trying times, it is important we lend our strength and courage to those in our own communities. May we find it within to take care of each other as the buffalo do. During this time, Buffalo Field Campaign will continue to stand with the buffalo. As we stand, we acknowledge that your generous donations drive our success. Qeciyewyew (thank you) for choosing to stand with Yellowstone buffalo. We will persevere.
For the Buffalo,
James Holt, Sr.
Executive Director, Buffalo Field Campaign
“The Earth and I are of One Mind.”- Chief Joseph, Nez Perce