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Yellowstone Bison

Bison [Bison bison] cow & calf

Resting Bison cow & calf in a tender moment of bonding; Madison R. valley, Yellowstone NP., WY

The following is a press release issued today from the Buffalo Field Campaign, an organization whose sole purpose is to save our only wild and genetically-pure bison from extinction in the lower 48.



This morning a large banner depicting a buffalo and a tipi with the message “Protect the Sacred” was discovered by Buffalo Field Campaign patrols as they were documenting livestock trailers loaded with captured Yellowstone buffalo heading to the slaughter house. The banner was hung off of the Corwin Springs bridge that crosses the Yellowstone River, just a few miles north of Yellowstone National Park.

https://org.salsalabs.com/o/2426/images/022017-Protect%20the%20Sacred-BFCphoto%20.jpg

©A Buffalo Field Campaign photo

A short time later, Buffalo Field Campaign received the following statement:

A Call to Action: Save the Buffalo of Yellowstone Park:

As the last resisters in Standing Rock hold off the pipeline, so do the last remaining 5,000 indigenous Buffalo here at Yellowstone Park. Every morning up to 100 of the sacred Bison are exterminated during a government-sponsored population control program. Today, at dawn, at least fifty of our Buffalo brothers were shoved into trailers and hauled to slaughter. There are 1,500 Bison that are slated to be captured and slaughtered.

Yellowstone Herd Bison are descendants of twenty-three Great Plain’s Bison who survived the 19th century extermenation campaign, managing to eke out a living in the corner of the National Park. Once, they numbered 60 million, and ranged the entire continent, supporting millions of Indigenous lives. Since 1901, they have managed to repopulate in this harsh reservation style habitat. However, each year through government mandate, Buffalo are trapped and slaughtered by contract killers–the pregnant mothers have their offspring ripped from their wombs. These last remaining Bison live precariously under govermental control and continue to be pushed into oblivion.

Our communities are made up of many different nations, belief systems and lifestyles. Each member plays a role and in a way that role resembles nature. Honeybee’s work together to maintain their colony; buffalo, when going through hardship, will circle and protect the weak and when attacked, trees will signal other trees to start their self defense response before being invaded. On a micro level the change we create in every community is momentous as it encourages and unifies on a macro level.

This is a call to our relatives from all four directions to step forward in prayer and in action, to put an end to genocide and save the last wild roaming Buffalo, without the Buffalo we cease to exist.

Wake up! The Buffalo need your help!

In Memory of Rosalie Little Thunder, All Buffalo Nations, The Ancestors, and All Future Generations. For Mni Wiconi!

Earth’s Indigenous Army


 

The Montana-based wild bison advocacy group, Buffalo Field Campaign, applauds this courageous action which will help draw more attention to the growing opposition to the maltreatment and slaughter of the country’s last continuously wild buffalo herds.

“This is great timing, as this comes on BFC’s last day of our Week of Action, so it tells us that others have heard the call, are paying close attention, and are taking steps to make their opposition to the slaughter of the sacred buffalo known,” said Buffalo Field Campaign media coordinator Stephany Seay. “This banner is a testament to the resistance strengthening and solidarity growing throughout Native communities and earth defense allies.”

For more information about what is happening to America’s last wild buffalo, visit http://www.BuffaloFieldCampaign.org.


Official stand by WHWF on the killing of an endangered Black Rhino.

 

The word ‘Conservation’ means the following:

1. The act or process of conserving.

2. Preservation or restoration from loss, damage, or neglect.

3. The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of
wildlife and of natural resources such as forests, soil, and water.

Conservation most certainly does not mean the exploitation and sensationalizing of the trophy hunting of a Black Rhino which people all over the world are desperately trying to protect and save from extinction.

Let’s look at some of the issues surrounding this controversy:

The rhino poaching in Namibia is completely out of control. With around 65 Rhino Carcasses of a limited population found in just the last few months, every rhino life is precious and should be treated as such. Most of the animals being poached here are Black Rhino. Namibia desperately needs an anti-poaching plan that can work. The exorbitant sum of money paid by Mr. Knowlton and the Dallas Safari Club could have been used to set up a decent anti-poaching program. Despite what we are being told, there is no guarantee that this will happen now.

 

Corey Knowlton pictured above on his way to kill the endangered Black Rhino.

It could also have been donated outright to for instance Black Rhino breeding programs or projects such as @Rhino Rescue Project (for horn infusion), but then Mr. Knowlton would not have the head on his wall in a few weeks.

Another option was that Mr. Knowlton could have done a ‘green hunt’, a process whereby by the animal is darted with sedatives in order to facilitate relocation. He could still have filmed it, taken his pictures to tell the tale, with the exception that one of these precious beings would still have been alive. These options had been presented to Mr. Knowlton and the DSC during the time of the auction by an organization called Live Trophy, who offered to refund Mr. Knowlton his money, and carry all costs of relocation. A suitable, safe site to move the Rhino to had been identified and secured. These talks had been shut down by Mr. Knowlton, because in actual fact, he just wanted the trophy, or in his own words “I want to intimately experience a Black Rhino”.

The Government of Botswana has joined the ranks of thousands of organizations outraged at the fact that no other options were entertained. Botswana indicated in an official statement that they would have been honoured to take the (live) rhino into their safekeeping.
In response to statements made that the rhino was a problem animal – these PAC (Problem Animal Control) permits need to be executed within two weeks of the verified complaint. Not fifteen months later.

As per the CNN televised footage, this area was frequented by only three rhino, of which two had been identified by the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism as possible targets to be shot. It now has two, and it is just not possible to be certain that this population will survive or expand. Often, the older, more dominant bulls carry the strongest genes, the same ones that nature selects to be carried over to their offspring. Now we will never know, and this specific population of black rhino might as well be officially declared extinct. It is very clear from the articles and footage of journalists attending the hunt, that this bull was still healthy and fit. After all, it took him more than 30 minutes to collapse and die after being shot.

 

 

Knowlton having shot and killed this precious endangered Black Rhino.

Mr. Knowlton had the gall to say that the hunting conditions were brutal. Actually, brutal is working for years, sleeping in tents, exposed to the elements, in constant danger of being killed by poachers, in constant hardship, under-equipped and under-valued, just to protect our remaining rhinos from being poached. Watching your fellow rangers being murdered, and the precious beings entrusted to your care being slaughtered mercilessly. Because this is the reality of what a ranger faces, every day. In fact, to earn the equivalent of what Corey Knowlton spent to kill the rhino, a ranger would have to work for more than fifty years. To put it bluntly, with this blood money, Corey Knowlton could have paid the salaries of around one hundred (100) rangers for a full year. Is it becoming more obvious where priorities should have been?

As it stands now, the USD350k has been swallowed up into the coffers of a notorious ‘Conservation’ fund which has not been forensically audited in years, and it is highly unlikely that transparency will be at the order of the day.

As for the meat being supplied to the villagers, suffice to say that it is probably the most expensive meat they will ever eat. Together with the live relocation and reimbursement option, offers were made to Mr. Knowlton to set up self-sustaining small farming practices for the villagers (including complete training and education), supplied with goats that could reproduce and crops that if correctly managed would have been able to feed them for the rest of their lives, not just for the fifteen minutes of that much-prostituted picture.

There were other options which would have made Corey Knowlton a hero in the eyes of every person on this planet who loves animals, and he was aware of those options.

The professional hunter, Mr. Hentie van Heerden, who accompanied Mr. Knowlton on this hunt, is no stranger to controversy. In 2008 it was Mr. Van Heerden who held the hunting permit for Voortrekker , iconic Desert Elephant and ‘founding father’ of all the present few individuals in small herds living in the Kunene and Damaraland regions of the Namib. This permit was bought out from him (saving Voortrekker’s life as a living trophy), and Van Heerden killed another elephant instead. It would be interesting to know how much Mr. Van Heerden has been paid for his services, as his public profile now implies ‘retirement’.

Fewer people are aware that a second permit has been issued by the Namibian MET, for the Hunting of another Black Rhino.
Michael Luzich paid USD200k for his permit. He also received permit approval for the importation of the trophy from USFWS. ‘Luzich has close ties to the person who ‘accidentally’ shot a Pregnant Black Rhino cow in Mangetti, in a highly controversial blunder of epic proportions. Is he going to follow through, or dare we hope that he may have learnt something from the Knowlton fiasco?

The fact that the US Fish & Wildlife Services approved the trophy import permits despite having been flooded with thousands upon thousands of comments opposing, is quite puzzling. The public comment period was a pacifier, as no heed was paid to any comment opposing the permit. The involvement of the Save the Rhino Trust and the WWF in this controversy is quite alarming to say the least, as is the recent admission of the Dallas Safari Club into the IUCN. It certainly seems like every animal on this planet has its price, no matter how critically endangered. Everything can be bought with enough money and political clout.

Even the life of one of only a few thousand critically endangered Black Rhino left in the world!.

©WHWF-photo by WHWF

Thought this might be of interest.


“Working to Stop the Yellowstone Slaughter”

Just a brief addendum to our recent blog on the killing of wild Bison in Montana with the help of the US Park Service and others.  A book on this issue was recently authored by Dan Brister with a foreward by Doug Peacock, published by WestWinds Press, titled “In the Presence of Buffalo”.

Dan Brister has been on the front lines of this ongoing travesty since 1997 and this book is a must read for anyone who cares about wildlife, Yellowstone bison, Yellowstone National Park policy or the welfare of animals in general.  Warning, it will make you angry.  This is a small book of only 92 pages but is succinctly well-written and documented, neatly tying the history of the massive bison herds destruction to the ongoing ignoring of Native American treaty rights regarding bison and of course the current “management” debacle.  Available through Amazon or the Buffalo Field Campaign’s website (order from them, they need our help at www.BuffaloFieldCampaign.org)  Read it and pass it on…..send a copy or 2 to your Senator or Congress person as well.

Rainbow arches over mountain meadow as bison graze peacefully; Yellowstone NP., WY

Rainbow arches over mountain meadow as bison graze peacefully; Yellowstone NP., WY


Still Killing Our Bison

Resting Bison cow & calf in a tender moment of bonding; Madison R. valley, Yellowstone NP., WY

Resting Bison cow & calf in a tender moment of bonding; Madison R. valley, Yellowstone NP., WY

Something very ugly has been happening in Montana near the Yellowstone National Park boundary. Over the past few years the Montana Division of Livestock, US Park Service and the Department of  Agriculture (APHIS) have been capturing, hazing, killing and experimenting on the last wild bison in the US.  The bison in Yellowstone National Park are the descendents of the few survivors of the attempted extirpation of the bison in the late 1800s.

Under the guise of “The Interagency Bison Management Plan” bison are forcibly removed from federal lands (primarily National Forest) in Montana that the bison have used for millennia and still use as winter range and calving grounds. Helicopters, riders on horseback and ATVs harass, haze and run bison from these federal lands up to 7 miles into the national park,  without regard for pregnant cows, cows giving birth and very young calves.  All for the wrong assumption that domestic cattle can be infected with brucellosis from wild bison, no transmission of this disease has ever been recorded from wild bison to domestic cattle (the brucellosis that bison carry originally came from the introduction of domestic cattle).  Elk also carry brucellosis but no such actions are carried out against elk.  The people involved with these actions in the state of Montana are not wildlife biologists, they are brand inspectors and others concerned with domestic livestock issues. Bison are not cattle, they are part of our wildlife legacy.

There has been an ongoing campaign to stop this abuse.  The Buffalo Field Campaign (www.buffalofieldcampaign.org) has been active in the field, documenting what’s been happening in Montana, working to stop bad legislation in the state of Montana and alerting the public (as well as a very small nonprofit can) to this very sad chapter in our treatment of wild bison.  More people need to be made aware of this travesty and give their support to our wild heritage.  Please go to the BFC website to educate yourself about these issues and take action to save our wild bison.

Bison calf portrait

Bison calf portrait

Bison calf grooming

Bison calf grooming

Darn that itch! Bison calf scratching head; Yellowstone NP., WY

Darn that itch! Bison calf scratching head; Yellowstone NP., WY

Bison cow nurses calf, while cowbird takes up residence on her back; Yellowstone NP., WY

Bison cow nurses calf, while cowbird takes up residence on her back; Yellowstone NP., WY

Bison bulls bumping heads during the summer rut; Yellowstone NP., WY

Bison bulls bumping heads during the summer rut; Yellowstone NP., WY

Young Bison bulls stirring up dust while sparring during the summer rut; Yellowstone NP., WY

Young Bison bulls stirring up dust while sparring during the summer rut; Yellowstone NP., WY

During the rut an old Bison bull takes time out for a nap during the heat of the day  Yellowstone NP., WY

During the rut an old Bison bull takes time out for a nap during the heat of the day Yellowstone NP., WY


Hello world!

This blog is a new experience and an experiment, we don’t know where it’s going and the direction it takes will at least some of the time be up to you.  Hope you enjoy the ride.

We will share some of our insights on image capture , the equipment used, as well as environmental and natural history tidbits. We pretend to no expertise in all things photographic but we manage to have some success at capturing interesting and beautiful creatures (they are all beautiful) as well as the land that they and we share. Please check out our web site Pronghorn Wildlife Photography  for more images.

When Nikon released the D2x we snapped up a couple of them and our transformation from using film (remember?) to digital began.  Suddenly we needed more computing power, Photoshop and Lightroom, external hard drives, copying to dvd, and on and on.  Sometimes shooting with film seems like a really fine idea, and then I look at my camera histogram or increase or decrease the ISO and I think this digital thing is good, it might even catch on.  In truth I really wish we had todays digital cameras back when we were working on our book The Common Plants of Costa Rica. Slow film in the rain forest?  Oh yeah, but it all worked out, and we learned a lot, not just about photographing in difficult situations but about one of the most beautiful and environmentally diverse places on Earth.

So let’s see where this ends up.  We look forward to you sharing your comments and or questions and we will endeavor to reply to all.