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Lightning Strike Kills White Buffalo

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  • Lightning Strike Kills White Buffalo

    Lightning Strike Kills White Buffalo
    By Gina Duwe, Gazette Staff
    The Janesville Gazette - 27 November 2006

    Janesville, WI -- Lightning on Sunday night struck and killed two buffalo cows and three buffalo calves, including a white buffalo-Miracle's Second Chance-on the Heider farm south of Janesville, Dave Heider said this morning.

    Heider discovered the five dead buffalo when he went to check on the animals this morning before going to work.

    The white calf's mother was walking around and grunting, so Heider followed her up the hill where he found the five dead buffalo with burn marks laying near a tree.

    He thinks it was one lightning strike that hit all five and the nearby tree.

    The farm became a destination for thousands of visitors after Miracle, a female white buffalo, was born there on Aug. 20, 1994. In 1995, visitors to the Heider farm increased tourism to Rock County by 22 percent.

    White buffalo are extremely rare and are said to fulfill a Native American legend foretelling peace.

    Miracle died in 2004 and is now stuffed in the Heider gift shop.

    A male white buffalo was born on the farm Aug. 25 this year.

    "How many times in a lifetime does lighting strike?" Heider said to The Janesville Gazette after the second birth.

    Sunday's storm answered his question, again.

    Earlier this year, lightning struck a couple of his Scottish Highlander cows, Heider said, but it had never happened to any of his buffalo.

    He said they figured they'd better "call it in and get it on the news wire" so people wanting to visit the white buffalo wouldn't be surprised.

    "I suppose it's going to be a great loss to a lot of people," he said.

    Since the August birth, "a lot of people" have called about visiting the farm, including people from Canada, he said.

    Sunday night's thunderstorm brought 0.24 inches of rain to the area.

    "It's just coincidence, I guess, that lightning struck twice," he said. "He (Miracle's Second Chance) was born in a storm and died in a storm."

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

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