I had the opportunity on Thursday evening to attend Mike Meese's presentation on the treatment of Yellowstone National Parks wild buffalo herd at the hands of the Interagency Bison Management Plan. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the IBMP it does a great deal to protect local ranchers access to public lands and cheap grazing at the expense of the Yellowstone bison and the American taxpayer. Under the guise of disease prevention the last wild buffalo herd has been slaughtered, experimented on, hazed and generally mistreated in a way that can only be described as abusive.
The video presentation was at times hard to watch as well as maddening but it was also at times uplifting in ways that I didn't expect. Images of injured newborn calves struggling to keep up with the herd as they were being hazed by agents of the government forced to run 15 miles in a single day will stick with me for a long, long time but so will the images and words of the BFC volunteers.
The amazing level of commitment Mike and the other BFC volunteers exhibit is nothing short of inspiring. Willing to endure all kinds of weather and to place themselves in harms way to bear witness to the treatment of these magnificent animals while at the same time forsaking the creature comforts that most of us enjoy is frankly one of the most selfless acts I can recall. Bringing the plight of the Yellowstone Bison into public view has slowed their killing to a trickle to the credit of the BFC but BFC marches on not satisfied with their enormous success, concerned only with the work that still needs to be done to protect the bison. After more than a decade of advocating for the buffalo at Yellowstone BFC's commitment has not wavered and I have no doubt that they will continue until the buffalo can roam free.
The buffalo's instinct's lead them to return to their ancestral lands but they are seeking more than just food. They are seeking their heritage, their place in a world that at least on public lands, lands that belong to you and me, should be guaranteed to them. Public lands should not be in the sole control of an industry that seeks only to enrich itself by removing native wildlife to make way for cattle grazing, an immoral and unjust act that should be outlawed.
Buffalo Field Campaign continues to fight for the right of the last wild bison in America to exist. They are fighting in the field and in the media as well as in the courts and they need our support. The first step is to contact BFC and become educated about what is really going on in Montana. Spread the word in support of BFC and the buffalo and make a donation to this amazing group.
The Buffalo Field Campaign can be reached via: www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/ and don't miss these very compelling videos documenting the treatment of the buffalo. www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/bisonvideogallery.html
On a personal note I would like to thank Mike and Stephany and all the other volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the buffalo. You guys are awesome!