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Buffaloland Park is bustling with a baby boom this spring.
“I think there’s six for sure. They’re hard to get a count on. They go to the woods pretty quick when you pull in,” caretaker Wade Loane said.
“It’s hard to get an exact count at the moment until they get a little more mature.”
There appeared to be at least nine buffalo calves in the eastern P.E.I. sanctuary early Wednesday morning, which is believed to be the most newborns in the past few years. The calves emerged along with the herd and spent time grazing before heading back into the woods out of sight.
Loane said the young are spry.
“Oh, yeah. I think they’re running before they hit the ground,” he said with a laugh.
The original buffalo (seven males and eight females) were a gift to the Prince Edward Island government from the province of Alberta in 1973 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Island joining confederation.
The province operated a provincial park in Milltown Cross but decided in 2012 to divest itself of the facility. Moonlight P.E.I. Sanctuaries took over the herd management and maintenance costs of the 140-hectare property through an agreement with the provincial government in 2014.
Loane figures this year’s new additions might bring more visitors to the facility, which is a tourist attraction.
“It would draw a few more, I’m sure, to see the babies. Everybody likes seeing the babies in the spring,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people go out there as it is. It’s hard to believe how many people do attend the park, especially on weekends.”
Loane said the newborns stick fairly close to their mothers, who are protective of their young.
“You’re not getting close to one of the calves."
While the buffalo have been part of the Kings County community for years, they are still wild animals. Loane estimated the buffalo weigh around 1,600 pounds while the calves might be about 45 pounds.
“The biggest thing is to be careful,” he said.
“The best thing is to keep your distance back from the fence.”
While there hasn’t been anyone injured at the park, Loane wants people to be alert and noted even the people who work there have very minimal contact with the animals.
“The biggest thing is for people not get overconfident that they’re a tame animal — they’re far from it.”
As for the best times to view the buffaloes, Loane suggest early in the morning and late in the evening.
“In the heat of the day, they’ll go to the woods and stay in the woods quite a bit,” he said.