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!

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