Update from the Field
We haven't seen any buffalo in Montana since the 31 we reported last week as having been killed by hunters in a matter of days. The few that were not shot quickly walked into Yellowstone, leaving scarcely a trace. BFC patrols remain in the field, seeking signs of the gentle giants.
This week, BFC attended the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) meetings in Bozeman, Montana. These meetings are always frustrating, but it is important that we are there to learn what the agencies and tribes are planning, to speak for the buffalo at every opportunity, and to videotape the proceedings. The agencies lack vision and understanding of the buffalo whose lives -- and deaths -- they dictate. Constrained by livestock industry-driven politics, the discussions and decisions never consider the buffalo's perspective. They have forgotten to listen to the animals.
Maintaining "a wild, free-roaming" population of bison is supposedly one of the two primary goals in the highly controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan. "Wild, free-roaming" is defined as "not routinely handled by humans." A Nez Perce spokesman for the IBMP passionately asked when the IBMP would actually start addressing this goal. The Montana Department of Livestock smugly asserted that this goal is being met. The manipulation, interference and forcible reversal of wild buffalo migrations compounded with capture, slaughter, quarantine and invasive research are stark examples of its failings. Further, seeking to manage a minimum population of the most unique herds of American bison in the country, animals that are ecologically extinct throughout their native range, is disastrous.
The tides are turning. The old excuses are not holding water. While it seems positive change is very slow to come, minds are evolving. We are all making a difference together, for the buffalo. With persistence, resistance and endurance, we are creating a strong, positive future for them.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
A note from Ray. You can help the Yellowstone buffalo here: www.buffalofieldcampaign.org