White Buffalo Death Confirmed
Lighting Medicine Cloud, a rare white buffalo, died of a bacterial infection, according to a veterinarian. The death of the white buffalo was originally reported as a hate crime to Texas law enforcement.
According to the ranch owner, Arby Little Soldier, the white buffalo calf was found mutilated and skinned. The Lakota Ranch is located near Greenville, Texas, and the death was reported last May.
During the investigation it was discovered that the animal had died six days before the Hunt County sheriff’s office was notified. The Lightning Medicine Cloud had been buried for three days as the ranch owner consulted with his tribal elders before contacting police.
Two other buffalo had died since May, possibly from blackleg, a bacterial infection. Blackleg spores lie dormant in nature until consumed while grazing or through a wound.
“To lose all three in a month is really terrible,” Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said following the deaths of mother and son.
Thousands of people attended a naming ceremony at the ranch last year to celebrate the calf’s May 12 birth. Meeks spoke at the event.
While there is a vaccine for cattle, there is not an approved version for buffalo.
On Tuesday, Meeks issued a statement saying that the deaths of Lightning Medicine Cloud and Buffalo Woman were due to “natural causes.”
“Officials obtained what evidence was available and consulted with a veterinarian in reference to the manner of death,” Meeks said. “We conducted a thorough investigation, interviewed over 25 people and looked at every angle in this matter such as hate crimes, vengeance, hunters, etc.”