Saturday, April 23, 2011

Slaughter Possible! Four Bulls Shot, APHIS Strikes Again

Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field
and in the policy arena to protect America's last wild buffalo.
Buffalo Field Campaign

Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
April 21, 2011

* URGENT ACTION: Yellowstone Intends to Slaughter - Stop Them!
* Update from the Field
* Send a Mother's Day Card to Help the Buffalo--Deadline Fast Approaching
* MORE ACTIONS: Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied!
* Summer Volunteers Needed!
* By the Numbers
* Last Words
* URGENT ACTION: Yellowstone Intends to Slaughter Buffalo - Stop Them!

Please help these gentle giants! Yellowstone National Park is considering shipping up to 100 bull buffalo to slaughter. BFC file photo. Click photo for larger image.

We have just learned that, as a gesture to Montana's livestock industry, Yellowstone National Park is considering shipping 100 American buffalo - possibly all bulls - to slaughter. Hundreds of buffalo are being held captive in Yellowstone's Stephens Creek and Corwin Springs buffalo traps, and calves are now being born in captivity. Please tell Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk not to slaughter and to set all the buffalo free now!


* Update from the Field

DOL agent Jeff Bowers chases a group of bull buffalo across the Yellowstone River. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

For a few weeks now, residents in the Gardiner Basin have been in the company of more than one hundred wild bull buffalo. Agencies had been showing some tolerance, leaving them alone for the most part, and a lot of people have been celebrating their presence. Buffalo Field Campaign's Gardiner patrols have had the pleasure of sharing our little yard with buffalo nearly every day. While many locals have been enjoying the company of these beautiful bulls, and have also loudly applauded the recent decision to give wild buffalo a little more room to roam north of Yellowstone, our shaggy friends have suffered an enormous and undeserved backlash from a small, but very loud, contingency of Park County residents. Consequently, two bulls are dead and serious hazing operations began on Tuesday morning to force all buffalo out of the Gardiner Basin.

Cattle interests show that they don't want wild buffalo roaming free in the Gardiner Basin at Thursday's IBMP Open House. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click photos for larger images.

BFC and other buffalo advocates were hoping for meaningful dialogue at Thursday night's Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) open house, however, an organized group of anti-buffalo and anti-wolf folks came armed with exaggerated complaints, even calling the agencies "sick" for granting buffalo a little more space. You'd think they feared buffalo would eat their children. It was refreshing to hear some of the agency representatives stand their ground for the buffalo for a change. Buffalo are extremely easy to coexist with and fortunately all concerns have easily workable solutions, but some people just want to be mad and don't want to welcome the gentle giants home. Park County Commissioners - representing cattle interests - may even go so far as to take legal action.

A bull buffalo watches some of his brothers get hazed off of Bill Hoppe's cattle pasture by the Department of Livestock. This bull was soon hazed as well, and with ten others, pushed across the Yellowstone River into the Park. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

The day after the IBMP Open House, one resident took horrific action against four bulls, shooting dozens of rounds with a .22 caliber rifle. The shots were fired near a handful of houses, right next to Highway 89. One bull, full of bullet holes, died immediately, another suffered injuries and died the following evening. The fate of the two others is unknown as we haven't found their bodies. Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is fully engaged in an investigation and, according to local sources, they have a suspect. Park County Attorney, Brett D. Linneweber will decide whether or not this person will be prosecuted. Please call him at 406-222-4150 and insist that this individual be charged and convicted of these crimes! Here are a few photos of the two bulls that died, and we must caution you that they are very sad and deeply disturbing: Dead bull lifted off the earth; Dead bull in FWP truck; Second bull shot and wounded with FWP assessing; Died later, DOL and FWP comes to retreive him. If anyone reading this email has any information that could help convict the person responsible, please call FWP at 406-994-3540.

Day after day, DOL and Park Service agents hazed family groups of buffalo off of their chosen ground. Many of these buffalo are pregnant and will soon give birth. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Mixed groups of buffalo have been harassed by MT Department of Livestock and Yellowstone National Park riders every day, sometimes multiple times a day. So many of the cow buffalo are huge with calves and ready to give birth any day. Yellowstone has informed us that five calves have already been born inside the trap. One calf died shortly after being born. Two moms and calves have been released, and two other pairs are still being held in the trap. We are hopeful that the moms and babies that have been released are able to join up with other buffalo because alone they are extremely vulnerable and they desperately need the protection of their families.

This bull group was hazed out of Yankee Jim Canyon, across the Yellowstone River, and out of Cutler Meadows. The bulls put up quite a challenge! BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Unfortunately, the slight tolerance for all the bulls we've been enjoying ended abruptly this week. On Tuesday, ten government riders and law enforcement agents arrived in the Gardiner Basin and proceeded to haze all the bulls - nearly 140 - off of lands east and west of the Yellowstone River. The bulls made sure the agents didn't have an easy time of it. Some bulls escaped hazing while others gave the cowboys an eight-hour challenge. Over 250 wild buffalo, including the bull groups and any family groups agents could find, were chased off of their habitat and forced over the line into Yellowstone National Park. We fully expect that agents will be out every day in the Gardiner Basin, chasing buffalo out of Montana.

APHIS molests a bull buffalo on Gallatin National Forest. BFC file photo from 2010 by Cindee. Click photo for larger image.

The dark and unwelcome shadow of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has returned to West Yellowstone. On Tuesday agents molested two bull buffalo. After two bulls were "sampled" by the scientists, they, along with a younger one in their company, marched for miles south down Highway 191 straight into the town of West Yellowstone. Local and regional law enforcement, along with the DOL, proceeded to chaotically chase the buffalo around town for a while before pushing them over the boundary into Yellowstone. APHIS was again seen in the area on Wednesday but we did not see them near any buffalo. Nine more bulls could be molested by APHIS, so please see below to take action for them. Please read below for more information on this highly invasive study.

West Yellowstone and Gardiner are in the throes of two different seasons; Gardiner is greening with the spring while winter conditions are still very prevalent in West Yellowstone and a lot of the buffalo we are seeing appear thin and tired. The snow still obscures most of the ground and very little grass is available. But the buffalo of the central herd press on, migrating to their traditional calving grounds on and around the Horse Butte Peninsula. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to make it. Winter has been extremely difficult for them, and she is claiming lives. Two winter-killed buffalo have been found in the past couple of days, and we certainly anticipate that there will be hundreds more in and around Yellowstone that will not survive this season. But the calves are coming and the buffalo nation will survive!!

Roam Free!

* Send a Mother's Day Card to Help the Buffalo--Deadline Fast Approaching

Buffalo Field Campaign is happy to announce the return of our immensely popular Mother's Day card fundraiser.

Click for full-sized image
For just $15 Buffalo Field Campaign will send one of these beautifully crafted and and hand-colored cards to the recipient of your choice. Please use this link to order cards and remember that the deadline for ordering is Monday, April 25. We will send the cards to arrive by Mother's Day, Sunday May 8.
* TAKE ACTION NOW! Please Keep the Pressure On!

1. Please Contact your Members of Congress and request that they co-sign a letter to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis encouraging Yellowstone National Park to find habitats for wild buffalo to roam. Take Action Now!

2. Ask Governor Schweitzer to Veto Two More Bad Buffalo Bills. Governor Schweitzer has vetoed HB 318 and there are two more bills on his desk that need to get his veto. Please thank him for vetoing HB 318 and encourage him to stay the course and veto SB 174 and SB 212. Take Action Now!

3. Don't Let APHIS Harm More Bull Buffalo! APHIS has returned to the West Yellowstone area and molested two more bulls this week as part of their semen collection study. After being awakened from anesthesia with a reversal drug the bulls wandered into the town of West Yellowstone and were aggressively hazed into Yellowstone National Park. Please keep the pressure on APHIS to abandon this ill-conceived and highly invasive study and leave bull buffalo alone! If you haven't contacted APHIS yet, please learn more and take action and help us spread the word!
Watch BFC's video
Contact FWP's Wildlife Chief Ken McDonald and urge him to revoke APHIS's permit
Contact Becky Frey, APHIS, and tell her she is not welcome to molest bulls buffalo on our public lands or anywhere else!
* Summer Volunteers Needed

As the days grow longer and more and more bison leave the Park in search of sustenance our presence remains vigilant. We are also planning and preparing for our summer tabling program. Buffalo Field Campaign is currently looking for personable and enthusiastic participants that are interested in setting up and maintaining information tables in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks this summer. We ask for a minimum three week commitment from perspective volunteers so that we can adequately train and prepare you to educate and interface with the public. During summer volunteering with the campaign one can expect to hand out literature, participate in discussions with the public, correct misinformation about wild bison, talk about bison "management" and policies, advocate for habitat and truly wild free roaming bison, and much more. You can also expect to spend your time hiking, camping, and exploring some of the most beautiful park and forest lands our nation has to offer.

If you have time this summer and are interested in being a positive voice for wild bison please contact Tony, our Summer Coordinator, at and we can plan your volunteer experience. Thank you so much for your support and continued work for the buffalo.

Volunteer Coordinator
Buffalo Field Campaign

* By the Numbers

AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,600 individual buffalo.

2010-2011 Total Buffalo Killed: 223

2010-2011 Government Capture: 659
2010-2011 Government Slaughter: 0
2010-2011 Died In Government Trap: 3
2010-2011 Miscarriage in Government Trap: 1
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 211
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents: 2
2010-2011: Killed by Angry Residents: 2
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 5

2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631

* Total Since 2000: 3,934*

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality

* Last Words

(for the bison of Yellowstone, and for the wolves)

It is the sheer bulk of them and their shaggy heads
and how they move in their bodies so much better than we can
even in dance even astonishing acrobats and their strength
even the runner nowhere near the leaping cat.

It is how the elephants walk on feet that hear the Earth
how they rumble in reply silent to our ears
hearing the mouse even the beetles in the sand
and the humming grass.

(©March 16, 2008 Carol Snyder Halberstadt)

Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to and you'll see them here. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes, and stories you have been sending; you'll see them here!


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

BFC is the only group working in the field every day
in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.


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