Beloit Daily News

April 4, 2000

Miracle wasn't killed
Owner says rumor is false

JANESVILLE _ Val Heider assures that Miracle, the famed buffalo born with a white coat in August 1994, is alive and well.

The Heider farm in Janesville has been receiving phone calls the past two weeks stemming from rumors that the animal was dead. Miracle has attracted international attention and more than 100,000 visitors since her birth, which American Indians claimed was the fulfillment of prophecy for the rebirth of American Indian culture and unification of the races.

Heider said after reports surfaced on the Internet that ``the white buffalo had been shot,'' people automatically assumed it was Miracle. Heider said the slain buffalo was actually a male named ``Medicine Wheel,'' who was killed in mid-March in South Dakota.

``We've just been answering the phone like crazy, and it's everybody because she's so sacred,'' Heider said. ``Some people work into it like `What color is she now?' and then, `Well I heard a rumor ...'''

Medicine Wheel was owned by Joe Merrivale, whom Heider said she contacted after the influx of inquires about Miracle. Heider said after someone opened Merrivale's gate and let all 45 head of his buffalo out, Medicine Wheel was separated from the herd and wandered toward town. Officers decided for safety reasons to shoot the animal.

Because their farm received worried calls from across the country, Heider said she and her husband, David, have even included on their answering machine that their beloved buffalo is safe and sound.

``Miracle is fine, she's just fine,'' Heider said.
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