Yesterday Asylum clued the world into Canada’s so-called Buffalo Whisperer. But the story neglected to mention the apparent controversy. (We mean aside from bison making dangerous pets). Canada isn’t the only country to boast of a Buffalo Whisperer. The US and South Africa have their very own Buffalo Whisperers, too. Here are each of their cases to be the real Buffalo Whisperer.
Buffalo Whisperer: Jim Sautner, rancher, Spruce Grove (near Edmonton), Alberta
Buffalo: Bailey, Jr.
Weight: 1,600-pound male
Consolation for: Tragic death of first pet bison, Bailey, Sr., in 2008.
Special Skills: Rides in Car
Jim and Linda Sautner first had a pet bison in Bailey, but Bailey at a young age 4 (bison can live to 40) when his foot got stuck in a grate and he fell over and crushed his organs. Just weeks later a neighbor called with an orphaned bison. The couple met the youngster and pronounced him “sensible.” Bailey rides in his converted car along with a cocker spaniel. He drinks beer in bars and goes to charity events.
Buffalo Whisperer: RC Bridges, 61, Quinlan (near Dallas), TX
Buffalo: Wildthing, Age 5, 1,300 pounds
Consolation for: Losing eye to parasites
Special Skills: Dances, Pulls Chariot, Plays Basketball, Rounds up livestock, Sets world records
Life-long cowboy and horse trainer RC Bridges lost an eye to an exotic parasite in 2004, went through surgeries to regain sight and in 2005 took in a baby buffalo. He and his wife Sherron and their kids made Wildthing a member of the family with his own room.
Buffalo Whisperer: Luke Michaelides, 13, Limpopo (near Kruger), South Africa
Buffalo: Hop-a-long, 6-8 year old female, 1,100 pounds, Skip-a-long, 1 year old male
Consolation for: The family started taking care of Hop-a-long since she was injured by a male
Special Skills: Cape Buffalo are a completely different species–the one settlers mistakenly named North American bison after. They’re wild and dangerous, killing hundreds of Africans a year. So, it’s quite a feat that Luke gets close, earns their trust and gets kisses.
Luke is planning on writing a book about gradually getting the buffalo to trust him, the Daily Mail says.
Where to Go See Buffalo and Bison Around the World