The Janesville Gazette

Rare buffalo born white dies at age of 10

(Published Friday, September 24, 2004 05:56:24 PM CDT;
updated Friday, September 24, 2004 9:04:49 PM CDT)

Associated Press

JANESVILLE - A buffalo that was considered sacred by American Indians because it was born white a decade ago has died of natural causes.

Miracle the buffalo died Sunday and had been buried in an unmarked grave, said owner Dave Heider.

Heider said he expected news of the death would attract visits in coming weeks from those in the Indian community, and a memorial may be scheduled at a later date.

Miracle was born white in August 1994, and by that fall, as many as 2,000 people a day were visiting the farm of Dave and Valerie Heider in rural Janesville.

The buffalo changed to a darker color over its first winter but the next year was still drawing visitors by the hundreds to glimpse what many considered a holy sight.

According to some Indian prophecies, the white buffalo will reunite all the races of man and restore balance to Mother Earth. Some had expected Miracle's coat someday to turn from brown back to white.

Heider said Miracle's mother was still alive.

Miracle also was the mother of four surviving female buffalo.

"She meant a lot to a lot of people," Heider said.
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