Buffalo Field Campaign
Update from the Field
April 27, 2006
In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* BFC Mother's Day Cards - One Week Left to Order
* Thank You LightHawk & Ray Lee!
* We Drummed for Life & Gained a Warrior
* Free BFC T-Shirt for Published Letters to the Editor!
* Last Words
* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Here along the Park's western boundary things have been nothing less than magical. We give thanks for the blissful times in the presence of wild buffalo, this week unharmed and un-harassed. Spring is an incredible time to be with the buffalo after such a long, difficult winter. As buffalo relish the emerging green grasses, their energy increases a thousand-fold. The tracks we find show intermediate signs of buffalo dancing; bulls sparring, yearlings playing, young buffalo kicking it up, as patient matriarchs lead the way to greener grass and secluded birthing grounds.
Horse Butte and the Madison River corridor behold amazing gifts of abundance, and life manifests itself in numerous, spectacular forms. We bask in the arms of the Earth, in the presence of wild buffalo, the soothing, prehistoric cries of the Sand Hill cranes provide the gentle music of creation.
Our gaze lifts to the skies to see young bald eagles flying with their parents. Golden eagles swoop down around us, spreading their great wings, then fly up! up! up! ever higher. Higher still, the flight of the white pelican, circling and floating in freedom on the wings of the wind. Osprey and bluebird are busying themselves with the important tasks of caring for life anew, gathering and fishing and preparing for the young. Spring beauties and buttercups appear and the sage grows greener, wafting tangy fragrances as we walk through it.
Volunteers are refreshed with strong spring winds, inspiration and indescribable beauty. Topping it off, buffalo mothers present little gifts to the world, in the shape of tiny red calves. Amazing to know that these little ones will grow up to be mighty, gentle yet fearless giants. We wonder at the safety and comfort they must feel to have the strong love and protection of such a powerful mom and family. Our own maternal/paternal instincts kick in strong for them as well. Save for the nature of wolves and weather, nothing should be able to harm them. They are beautiful in their innocence with their soft red bodies, little black hooves, nuzzling noses and dark, wondering eyes. As they discover what it means to be alive, trying out their new legs prancing and dancing, hopping and skipping about the land, their patient, loving mothers carefully watch them every step of the way. As we follow the buffalo tracks along their migration route, we also dance with excitement, seeing the wee prints next to mom's giant ones. The joy of the next generation is upon us all.
Not long from now, however, the dark forces of the government and livestock industry will be upon them. But not without a fight. As ever, we will stand up against the lies, with the knowledge that Truth is with the buffalo. As you read in last week's Update, the supposed "threat" of brucellosis is just a cunning creation by the powers that (momentarily) be, to continue their Monopoly game upon our Mother Earth.
Recent news stories report that the agencies took blood samples from the nearly 1,000 buffalo they slaughtered. Test results show that had the blood samples been taken prior to hasty killing, more than half would still be alive. Fifty-five percent of the buffalo sent to slaughter by the National Park Service and Department of Livestock this year had NO SIGN OF BRUCELLOSIS! Critical information gained far too late. Tests also showed that 44 percent tested "positive" for brucellosis. The so-called positive results are false in that they only detect the presence of antibodies, not infection. In other words, they killed healthy buffalo that had developed immunity to brucellosis. Most were not infectious. Further, bulls, yearlings, and non-pregnant buffalo pose no risk of transmission, while pregnant buffalo post only a *theoretical* risk: to this day, there has never been a documented case of a wild buffalo transmitting brucellosis to cattle, even where they coexist. Nearly 1,000 buffalo lost to the world forever, without warrant, and most killed by the hands of those who are supposed to protect them.
If the government and livestock industry were truly concerned about disease rather than land control and money, the agencies could have used the convenience of murdered buffalo to do more accurate culture tests, which would have shown actual infection. But it's easier to maintain power by spreading lies, fabricating the truth and getting that media headline to state 44 percent tested "positive." The testing process is set up to benefit only those whose 400-year old mission has been to rid the land of these wild, gentle beings. Much like the way the Bush administration sold war based on "weapons of mass-destruction" that didn't exist.
Meanwhile, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) issued a press release yesterday saying the elk in the Madison Valley (the same valley buffalo have been shot or slaughtered for attempting to reach) probably don't have so much brucellosis after all. Whoops. They say it's probably yersinia, a relatively harmless (to wildlife and livestock) gastrointestinal bacteria that can show up as brucellosis in their brucellosis testing procedures. Who's to say that the wild buffalo aren't victims of this as well? Scientists that know about yersinia and brucellosis and the testing procedures say this is most likely the case. But sound science isn't a tool used by government. Of course, true to government form, an FWP agent claims the same probably doesn't hold true for Yellowstone buffalo. As a matter of convenience to carry out their "economically beneficial" destructive policies of land control, the government makes up excuses and formulates their "science" to continue their agenda, no matter the cost. Wildlife management is an oxy-moron, with the emphasis on the latter portion of the word.
Not all news is bad news: While the buffalo bring forth new life, we have been inspired by the action of others in recent weeks. To the North, the Mohawk Six Nations are currently standing their ground, defending their ancestral land against greedy developers. As the days go by, more and more people come to join their ranks and the mainstream media can no longer ignore this powerful rise of the people in defense of the land. We pray that others over Turtle Island will be inspired by these brave actions to stand up in solidarity against the tyrants. The momentum is building. Be it nuclear testing on sacred land, deforestation, rape of the oceans, or the persecution of the last wild buffalo - these are the representatives of what ails the sovereignty of the land herself; arriving are the fearless, strong champions who will set her free at last.
It has been said that the buffalo will never give up on the people. Their endurance over the centuries is testament to that. Though it may take generations, we will, likewise, never give up on them.
* BFC Mother's Day Cards - One Week Left to Order!
Wild buffalo babies are being born, wild buffalo moms celebrated! They need the love and protection of all buffalo defenders, as the peace they are afforded now will not be tolerated by the Department of Livestock. As we approach Mother's Day, help us celebrate (and protect!) wild buffalo mothers as you celebrate the nurturing women in your life. Give the gift of a beautiful hand-crafted Mother's Day card. Orders should be in by Wednesday, May 3rd, so we can get the cards out to reach the ones you love in time.
To order visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/mothersday.html
* Thank You LightHawk & Ray Lee!
As you can imagine, we don't have too much faith in the National Park Service's buffalo estimates. Nearly 1,000 have been sent to slaughter or gunned down by management activities, and winter kill has been heavy this year. Given these combined impacts, what is the herd size today? It's hard to say; we know it's dangerously low and we are determined to find out real information based on our own findings.
On Saturday, BFC representatives Jesse and Seamus went up on the gracious wings of LightHawk pilot Ray Lee's plane. LightHawk is the largest and oldest volunteer-based environmental aviation organization in North America. Jesse and Seamus joined LightHawk in a fly-over of the Yellowstone region starting in the currently buffalo-empty Madison Valley, through Yellowstone National Park, and some of the surrounding areas. They took lots of video and photographs of visible buffalo and areas where buffalo should be. Incredibly telling shots of the Duck Creek and Stephens Creek buffalo trap reveal the ugly scar these facilities have on the landscape. With their documentation and mapping skills we will get a more accurate assessment of what buffalo still remain. This is a really exciting, detail-oriented project and we beg your patience as all the pieces are put together. Soon, we will show you amazing photos and video footage of the region's awesome landscape and its giant inhabitants.
We are grateful to LighHawk who, over the years, has been very supportive of our work and lends their expertise to efforts to protect the last wild buffalo. Thank you, LightHawk, for granting us the opportunity to conduct our own buffalo count and helping us see a bigger picture with a birds-eye perspective.
To learn more about LighHawk's work visit http://LightHawk.org THANK YOU LightHawk and Ray Lee!
* We Drummed for Life & Gained a Buffalo Warrior
On Saturday we celebrated Earth Day in Livingston, Montana with local and regional advocates of the wild buffalo and grizzly bear. Our dear friend, Monica RavenHeart, brave and inspiring kindred spirit, put her amazing energy into creating yet another beautiful and inspirational event. We gathered and drummed, spoke about the wild, sharing stories and invoking healing energy and positive action. Gilbert Walking Bull, a Lakota elder, spoke to us about the relationship between the buffalo and the Lakota people; the Buffalo Nation, they are one, intertwined, where one ends the other begins and visa versa. Gilbert reminded us that Tatanka, the Lakota word for buffalo, translates literally into "His Great Creation."
The BFC buffaloon, a gigantic balloon buffalo, made his huge presence, attracting many to our table. There were beautiful hand-crafted drums, mother drums, rattles, tambourines all tuning in to hoof-beat and heartbeat. Generous door prizes were given away, including a beautiful hand-made beaded pouch crafted by our friend and Monica's husband Kevin. At the end of the day, however, BFC got the best "prize" of all: Monica's son, Gunner, came home with us to join the Buffalo Field Campaign. We are honored to have this new Buffalo Warrior with us. He is already wise beyond his years and a great photographer, besides! Check out some of Gunner's photos from the Drumming and some from his first days on patrol with the last wild buffalo: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/bisonphotogallery3.html
Stay tuned for "Drumming a Sacred Circle for Life III"! Thank you Monica and Kevin for your brave and wild hearts, your strong spirits, and the "donation" of your first born!
* Free BFC T-shirt for Published Letters to the Editor
Don't let the mainstream media get away with printing half truths! Please monitor the news and respond to articles about wild buffalo, write in their defense, inform others and set the record straight. The editorial section is the most widely read part of the newspaper. Lawmakers pay special attention to the editorial pages to get a feel for the concerns of their constituents. Write a Letter to the Editor for the last wild buffalo! Don't stop with the papers, though! Contact your TV and radio stations, urging them to show BFC's footage from the field and conduct interviews so that we can continue to raise awareness for the buffalo!
Anyone who gets at least one pro-buffalo letter to the editor published in the paper will receive a free Buffalo Field Campaign t-shirt (100% organic cotton). Send us a link or a hard copy (address at the end of this Update) to your published letter, along with your mailing address and t-shirt size, and we'll send you a beautiful t-shirt that says it all: "Let Buffalo Roam!" The offer holds true for anyone who can set up a radio interview for BFC or can get a TV station to run our footage.
For tips on writing letters to the editor, as well as a list of suggested newspapers, please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html or contact Stephany at [email protected]
* Last Words
"A patriot must be ready to defend his country against his government"
~ Edward Abbey
Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
BFC is the only group working in the field every day
to defend the last wild herd of buffalo in America.
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