Sunshine pours over the landscape in the Hebgen basin, illuminating the distinctive red color of a buffalo calf. Its mother looks after the calf as it feels the warmth of the spring sun, and she dutifully grooms the young one as it comes awake for the first time. Within hours, the calf is moving around.
The calf’s first steps are shaky, careful and slow. It stumbles in between its mother’s legs, peering around the sandy shores of Hebgen Lake, taking in the brand new world. The calf’s red fur is still matted and wet, and the mom is quickly cleaning up the afterbirth. All is safe at the moment, but she knows that wolves will track a new birth if she doesn’t clean up.
It doesn’t take long to work up an appetite. Still shaky, the calf seeks out milk from its mother. She patiently waits as the little one learns how to nurse below her. Finally, the calf has success, and enthusiastically begins to drink. In the next few months of nursing and grazing on nutritious green shoots this baby buffalo will grow rapidly. It must put on the weight to make it through the winter, so the bulking starts just hours after birth. Buffalo are built to survive.
For the last wild buffalo in Yellowstone, new life is a miracle to celebrate. This new generation will learn the herd knowledge they need to survive, and someday pass that knowledge on to others. These new buffalo will heal degraded land, and create habitat for all other animals that call Yellowstone home. New calves are the reason we stand with the buffalo, the hope for a better future that we fight for. BFC’s executive director James Holt reminds us that “every time a calf stands is a victory for us.”
In a world of problems, buffalo give us solutions. New buffalo give us hope. Old buffalo give us wisdom. The last wild buffalo give us a way forward.
In the News: Supporters of the buffalo from all over Montana have spoken out against Montana’s management of wild buffalo. They are linked below:
Indigenous bison, people both belong in
Montana Governor’s bison decision a signal of things to come
Gianforte dead wrong on bison
Wild is the way, Roam Free!!!