We are in the company of approximately two hundred wild buffalo who are enjoying the peace and quiet of year-round habitat on Horse Butte and surrounding lands. For two decades we have been ready to defend the buffalo on their chosen ground, monitoring government activity, and standing at the ready every moment to document hazing operations that would occur day after day for long, difficult weeks every spring. This tranquility is taking some getting used to, but we are so thankful as we learn to relish this most significant victory as we spend time with buffalo who are not being harmed or harassed on a landscape that used to turn into a war zone when the cowboys and law enforcement would brutally chase the buffalo out of Montana.
We do have a bit of sad news to share, unfortunately. The injured mama buffalo who we have been monitoring for over a month finally succumbed to her ill health on Wednesday. We had been amazed at her tenacity, staying alive in the condition she was in, and we had the greatest hope that she would somehow survive. We are fairly certain she was pregnant, and thought she might hold on to bring her calf into the world. But on Tuesday patrols saw her alone and laying in a posture that made us think she was dead. As we checked we saw signs that she was still hanging on. On Wednesday morning she left this world, her still body covered in spring snow. It is amazing that she hung on as long as she did. The strength of these buffalo never ceases to amaze us. They are as tough as they are gentle. Her death hangs over everyone here at camp so heavily, as we were with her for so long, watching her every day, praying she would make it. But as her soul moves on, new lives are coming. More calves have arrived this week, and many more will grace this world over the next month and beyond. We are all so thrilled and celebrating these little buffalo. Everyone is so excited. Not just us, but all the friends of buffalo. There are so many smiles on peoples' faces, and it warms our hearts beyond words. We’ve had some wonderful moments with them and lots of laughs. Their moms are so proud and protective. You can feel the joy in the buffalo families as these little ones are introduced into the herds, their coming a sign ensuring that the buffalo nation will continue. We wish you could be here to celebrate with us. Instead, we hope you will enjoy these few snapshots of the wonderful moments we’ve had with the buffalo this week!