Buffalo Field Campaign
Update from the Field

May 4, 2006

In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Great Letters to the Editor
* Buffalo Badge Contest Winner
* In Celebration of Mothers, Wild and Human
* Last Words

* Update from the Field

Yesterday started out with an incredible event:  Early in the morning, a group of about 70 buffalo, including newborns, swam across the narrows of Hebgen Lake from Horse Butte to a good grassy area near highway 287.  Amazed patrols felt so blessed to witness this incredible event, admiring the will of the buffalo to go where and how they must, and the incredible stamina of the little calves keeping up with the herd.  Yet the natural harmony would be momentary.  The peace and tranquility of the past week was broken yesterday.  Department of Livestock (DOL), Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), U.S. Forest Service and Gallatin County sheriffs pounded the region with their cruelty and arrogance in a massive hazing operation on Yellowstone's western boundary region.  It was an exhausting day.  BFC patrols on foot, bikes and in cars were covering a lot of ground, bearing witness for the buffalo and the people who love them, documenting the government's injustice to the last wild herd and the ecosystem in which they live.

Agents on horseback simultaneously hazed wild buffalo off of the south side of the Madison River and the Horse Butte peninsula.  Hundreds of buffalo, including delicate newborn calves and mothers-to-be, were interrupted from their gentle existence and forced off of their native ground, back into the human delineated lines of Yellowstone National Park.  On Horse Butte, agents ran buffalo through a barbed wire fence, where some got tangled and were injured.  They even violated their annual operating plan with the U.S. Forest Service by hazing buffalo along the Madison River a quarter mile from open water well after 3:00 pm.  Supposedly, the agents are allowed to haze only between the hours of 10am and 3pm, a safeguard put into place to protect bald eagles and their habitat.  Like a Trail of Tears the line of buffalo being forced to move stretched for what seemed a mile.  During the operation, agents heartlessly separated a newborn calf from it's mother.  The tiny calf was left behind on the Butte as the mother was hazed for miles back to Yellowstone's boundary.  There's no doubt that if she can, the mother will come back for her baby.  She will be faced with the challenge of again crossing highway 191, miles of travel, and ruthless harassment by government agents.  We pray there will be a reunion, or as it is known to happen, another group may take the baby in. 

After the agents finished wreaking havoc in the Horse Butte and Madison area they continued their assault and headed for the buffalo along highway 287.  The group that swam across the lake, plus a small group of bulls were chased down 287, up Duck Creek Road, and pushed over the boundary of Yellowstone National Park.  Agents then headed towards highway 191 to haze more buffalo.  Some of the buffalo that were pushed into the Park had already turned around to go back to where they had been.  Likely, the mom of the orphaned calf was one of them.  Every buffalo in sight was a target for persecution, yet some still managed to escape the government's wrath.   Today, the agents are out again with more attempts to empty the landscape of a keystone species.  This is part of the livestock industry's "big push" to get rid of the buffalo before the cattle returns in mid-June.  But the buffalo are the rightful residents of this land.  The land's wild, natural buffalo heritage deserves greater protection and respect than does the profit margin of Montana's livestock industry.  Even enduring centuries of great tragedy, the buffalo survive and persist, proving they are stronger than man's ill will.
✔Some good news is that agent activities do not go over well with area residents or those who come to this beautiful area to enjoy the solitude and wildness, including the company of wild buffalo.  Unwelcome agents ran buffalo through campgrounds and trespassed through housing areas.  People were none too pleased and vow to take action.  People's tolerance of agent activity is running very thin, and these 'cowboys' are running out of time to play their games; Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer promises that things will be "different" next year.  Let's hope so.  BFC will continue to make sure the agent's gutless, selfish actions will be shown far and wide and we depend upon you, our faithful supporters, to help share the information and images with the people you know, inspiring action and strengthening the voice for the last wild buffalo.
Roam Free,

* Great Letters to the Editor

The release of an Associated Press (AP) story last week, falsely stating that 44 percent of wild buffalo slaughtered by Yellowstone and the Department of Livestock "had" brucellosis, conjured quite a bit of response.  The fact is, blood tests only detect the presence of antibodies, not infection.  So many of those buffalo testing "positive" were healthy and immune to the cattle-borne disease.  Check out two fantastic letters to the editor by Montana wild buffalo advocates who know the truth and challenge the media to do a little more research and not rely on agency spin:

"Diseased" not correct term for tested bison


Brucellosis test shows exposure, not infection


Don't forget:  If you have a pro-buffalo letter to the editor published, we will send you a FREE "Let Buffalo Roam" organic cotton t-shirt!  Just send a copy of your published letter (by mail or email), your mailing address and t-shirt size to [email protected] or the address at the end of this email.  For tips and suggested papers to contact visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html.   The same t-shirt offer holds true if you can coordinate a radio or television interview for BFC.  Write on and speak out for the last wild buffalo ~ spread the word to save the herd!

* Buffalo Badge Contest Winners

Currently, the Department of Interior (DOI) and National Park Service (NPS) don a buffalo on their badge, but given their harsh treatment of the buffalo in their care, they simply do not deserve wear this symbol of gentle freedom, tenacious strength, and powerful spirit. After going through a slew of fabulous entries, with much difficulty Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) decided on the contest winner for replacing the DOI and NPS badge.

Find out who won the contest and what emblem best represent these agencies:

* In Celebration of Mothers, Wild and Human

Thanks to everyone who supported the work of BFC with your order of hand-crafted Mother's Day cards!  We know the nurturing women in your life will be so pleased with these cards, and your purchase goes directly to the front lines work of BFC.  Many thanks to BFC board member and wild buffalo advocate, Kathleen Stachowski, for her beautiful work on these cards!

Join us in West Yellowstone, Montana on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14th and stand in solidarity with the Last Wild Bison.  Every Spring the buffalo family migrates out of Yellowstone National Park (YNP) on the western boundary to their calving grounds, the Horse Butte Peninsula.  These public lands offer fresh spring grasses, southern exposure and cool lake waters for the buffalo to utilize during the birthing process.  Yet the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) will use helicopters, ATV's and horsemen to terrorize pregnant females, newborns, yearlings...the whole family unit.  In years past,  DOL hazing activities have caused abortions, deaths to pregnant females, injury and death to newborns...even running less than a week old calves into the thick mud flats of the Madison River!  Please bring your family and join us on the corner of Hwy 191 and Rainbow Pt. Rd.  We will offer free coffee and free cookies in hopes to Free the Buffalo!  If you cannot celebrate the Buffalo with us in the field, please take the time to write personal letters to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis (http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html) reminding them to honor, respect and cherish the Last Wild Buffalo!  This Mother's Day stand-up for the reproductive rights of all species!  This Mother's Day reclaim what it is to be Wild and Free!

For the Buffalo,
Justine, Roman and Japhy Sanchez

* Last Words

"I love the land and the buffalo and will not part with it."

~ Satanta, Kiowa


Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT  59758

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