Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Buffalo Field Campaign Weekly Update from the Field 12/18/14

Buffalo Field Campaign Weekly Update from the Field 12/18/14

    Weekly Update from the Field December 18, 2014

Home> Updates from the Field > Updates from the Field 2014/2015

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Bison Threatened, Bighorn Dying in Gardiner Basin‏
* Update from the Field
* TAKE ACTION! Support ESA Listing for Wild Bison
* VIDEO: BFC Volunteer of the Week: Clarence Gilmer II
* 2015 Wild Bison Calendars ~ Get Yours for the Coming New Year!
* VOLUNTEER! Seeking Buffalo Warriors for This Field Season
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Chris Barns, BLM Wilderness Specialist

* Update from the Field

Buffalo Field Campaign photo by Kim Acheson. Click photo for larger image.

Another bull buffalo was killed by a Montana hunter this week, bringing the total to five. One by one the buffalo migrate across Yellowstone's boundary, and one by one they are killed. Once again, there is not a single wild buffalo in Montana. The current hunt is no more than an extermination program set up to satisfy livestock industry's intolerance for this national icon.

Government agencies plan to kill 900 to 1,000 buffalo this season through hunting and slaughter. BFC and Friends of Animals Wildlife Law Program filed an emergency rule-making petition to stop the slaughter but the government has yet to respond. Mild weather has so far stemmed large migrations, keeping the larger population of buffalo alive for now.

Gardiner Basin bighorn ram. Buffalo Field Campaign photo by Stephany Seay. Click for larger image.

Tragic events have also befallen the wild bighorn sheep population in the Gardiner Basin: some have contracted pneumonia and they are starting to die. At least ten bighorns have been found dead already. Pneumonia is incredibly contagious and has wiped out entire sheep populations. It is inconclusive how the bighorn were exposed to pneumonia, but it is highly likely that they contracted it from domestic sheep that were moved into the Basin two years ago. BFC volunteers have spent a lot of time with these bighorns, and our hearts are breaking as they die, not knowing if they will all vanish. We are taking action, but there is little that can be done to ensure the survival of this population. Domestic sheep also carry diseases that can kill bison and other even-toed ungulates; as easy prey they pose a threat to wolves and other predators, and they destroy natural habitat.

Letters to the Editor of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (, Billings Gazette (, and Livingston Enterprise ( can call attention to this tragedy and put pressure on the sheep rancher, Bill Hoppe, to remove his sheep. When other actions become available we will let you know.


* TAKE ACTION! Support ESA Listing for Wild Bison

Photo by Stephany Seay, BFC. Click to Take Action!

You can take action to support our petition to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to list the Yellowstone Bison under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The USFWS has 90 days to issue a finding on whether the compelling ESA petition filed in November by BFC and Western Watersheds Project leads a "reasonable person" to believe a listing is warranted. A positive finding means the USFWS will open a public comment period to allow citizens to contribute substantive information. The USFWS, however, is notorious for using lack of funding as an excuse to not list species that warrant federal protections. This is where Congress -- and you -- come in. Congress can allocate the funding, and we need you to put pressure on them to do so.

Please contact your US Senators and Representative and strongly urge them to fully fund the Endangered Species Act and to designate the necessary financing to review the science for listing wild bison. More information about our ESA petition and about the Act itself is also available at the bottom of this alert.

* VIDEO: BFC Volunteer of the Week: Clarence Gilmer II

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In addition to being an outstanding BFC volunteer, Clarence is also scheduled to film for The Discovery Channel's show, "Naked and Afraid" later this winter. He will be the third BFC volunteer to appear on the program! We will let you know when his episode is scheduled to air.

* 2015 Wild Bison Calendars ~ Get Yours for the Coming New Year

Order your 2015 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendar now!

BFC's 2015 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendar also makes a perfect gift! As you have come to expect, this 2015 Wild Bison calendar is a joyous celebration of this awesome animal, with breathtaking photos, interesting facts, inspirational quotes and poetry, and beautiful artwork. We are thrilled to bring you more photos from some of the best photographers both familiar and new, including the incredible images you have come to love from Sandy Sisti, Pam Talasco, Ric Kessler and for the first time, largely featuring the fantastic photographs of Tom Mangelsen. Celebrate the Wild Buffalo of Yellowstone Country 365 days a year! ORDER YOUR 2015 Calendar NOW!

* VOLUNTEER! Seeking Buffalo Warriors for This Field Season

Buffalo Field Campaign has seasonal openings for field volunteers. We have opportunities for every season, but are in great need of folks during our field season which runs from mid-November through May, and is when wild bison are migrating into Montana. Any buffalo within Montana's borders is in danger of being shot on sight, hazed, or captured and shipped to the slaughterhouse. All volunteers are provided room, board, gear, and training. We cater to most any dietary need and respect vegan and vegetarian diets. We are located in a warm log cabin by beautiful Hebgen Lake, just a few miles outside of West Yellowstone, Montana. Click on the button above or HERE to learn more and make your plans. See you on the front lines!

*By the Numbers

The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,900 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild, migratory bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

Total Buffalo Killed: 5
Government Capture:
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
Tribal - ITBC Slaughter:
Tribal - CSKT Slaughter:
Tribal - Nez Perce Slaughter:
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 5
Treaty Hunts:
Unknown Hunts:
Poached in Yellowstone:
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility:
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner:
Highway Mortality:
Cause of Death Unknown:

Total Killed in Previous Years*
2012-2013: 653
2012-2013: 261
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,896

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
**bison stolen from the wild and placed in APHIS research facilities (such as for GonaCon) have already been counted as being "eliminated from the population" so bison that have died in a government research facility are not reflected in the total.

* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Chris Barns, BLM Wilderness Specialist

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It is important that you watch this. Chris Barns is a Wilderness Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management. He gave the keynote speech at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Wilderness Act in Albuquerque, NM this October. With courage, eloquence and huge amounts of integrity he truly represents Wilderness and highlights threats that come from unlikely places: agencies and wilderness defense groups.

Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Identity Imperative by Serge Kahili King

As I watch from afar the inane antics taking place in Ferguson, Mo I am struck by how ignorant and fruitless the effort to destroy has become. These otherwise intelligent Black people who  have hearts and souls can let themselves become so out of control is a source of wonder to me that I have a hard time understanding.  They have done more to set themselves back into a 1950's mentality and environment in this one act of oppressive violence and that it is condoned by so called self-proclaimed moral leaders of their race  than any other act they have done in the last 100 years.

Being from a minority race I find myself wondering what would cause this reaction in one race that doesn't necessarily happen in another. I know Black people to be kind and decent folk most of the time and what I believe is one way of viewing this is that the Black people are not at a geographic advantage. They do not have a sense of place like Native Americans do because they are not on their own land. Scoff if you will but there can be much said about being connected to the land.

I have spent much time studying the ancient Hawaiian path to Spirituality and have come to respect a major proponent of the HUNA path, a man named  Serge Kahili King! He wrote an opinion of why people react in various ways as a group and I thought I would share it here as a probable explanation of why Ferguson is happening. In order to solve an issue one has to understand the driving forces of the issue and it goes much deeper than being imaginably oppressed by people who are actually trying to help. - Hope you gain a better understanding of these happenings after reading what Serge has to say. - Redhawk


The Identity Imperative
by Serge Kahili King

As we listen to and look at national and world news reports we see evidence of enormous conflicts between people who have identified themselves with very different ways of thinking and feeling and behaving. People who identify with different religions are at war with each other; people of the same religion who identify with different interpretations of it are at war with each other; people who identify with different political systems are at war with each other; people who identify with different interpretations of the same political system are at war with each other.

On a more local level, people who identify with different athletic teams in the same sport seem to be getting into sometimes serious fights with each other more frequently; people who identify with specific groups called gangs often have serious fights with each other, as well as with non-gang members of the society around them; and identity conflicts of a serious nature often arise between families or even individual strangers.

Two important questions that come out of this observation are: "Is there a fundamental urge to identify with something - an 'identity imperative,' so to speak - that is more powerful than other urges?" and "why does such identification so often lead to conflict?"

To answer the first question, the urge to identify with something - an idea, a belief, a philosophy, a religion, a way of life, a political system, a group of some kind, a territory, or even another person - is no more nor no less than a combination of the two fundamental urges to connect and to be effective.

We have an initial urge to connect because feeling connected, feeling ourselves to be part of something else, is a source of pleasure. By itself this leads to pleasurable relationships with people, animals, plants, and other aspects of the world around us. When the thing we connect to also helps us to feel more effective or powerful, another source of pleasure, then we have a strong tendency to identify ourselves with that thing, to consider it and us to be virtually identical. That's why so many people proudly declare that they are "members" of something or other (the word "member" means a "limb" or an integral part of something). It's also why people like to wear clothing, costumes, badges, pins, and tattoos that help them feel more connected and powerful.

The answer to the second question above is that the more insecure we feel about our connection and our effectiveness, the more fearful we become about their loss, which leads to painful feelings of isolation and helplessness. When this insecurity and its related fear become intense enough there may be a very strong suppression reaction. A common effect of this reaction is to perceive contrasting or opposing forms of identity as a threat to one's very existence. So a losing sports team, or its fans, may feel compelled to fight the winners, or their fans, and even destroy anything associated with them. Do something that an insecure identifier interprets as an insult to his or her source of identity and you may receive a death threat, or worse. In some cases people become willing to sacrifice their lives to maintain their own identity as well as the "life" of what they identify with. That will not happen, however, unless such people have decided that their own lives have no worth in any other context. Self sacrifice with the intention to harm members of another identity is therefore a desperate attempt on the part of extremely insecure people to maintain a sense of belonging and personal power.

The more secure you feel about your identifications, the more tolerant you naturally are of other identifications. If you have no doubts about the goodness or rightness of your ideas, beliefs, or behaviors, then you tend not to care about the ideas, beliefs, and behaviors of others (as long as they don't physically threaten you, of course). On the other hand, the more insecure you feel about your identifications, the more you will react with fear and anger and the desire to destroy anything and and anyone that doesn't agree with your way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Unfortunately, although this is essentially a position of weakness, it can cause great damage among those who are basically more tolerant, but not yet secure enough or wise enough to realize that tolerance is not the same as unbounded permissiveness.


Ma'alahi ka ha'ina, pu'ika'ika hana
"Simple the explanation, difficult the execution