PEI·Video

Buffaloland Park seeks help a year after Moonlight took over

Buddhists on P.E.I. say the herd from a former provincial park they took over last year is in good health, but they’re hoping other Islanders can help ensure a good future for the beasts.

Buddhist group purchased bison from the province last year

Now operated by Buddhists monks instead of the P.E.I. government, there are changes at Buffaloland Park 2:43

Buddhists on P.E.I. say the herd from a former provincial park they took over last year is in good health, but they're hoping other Islanders can help ensure a good future for the beasts.

The not-for-profit Moonlight International Foundation roots itself in Buddhists ideas, including valuing the protection of animals. So when the province sought to offload Buffaloland Park, a gift from Alberta in the 1970s, the foundation stepped up.

For $1, the community bought the park and agreed to take over the welfare of the animals.

"If the government is not managing this Buffaloland Park, the future of those buffalos is unknown and they might end up losing their lives," said Max Wang, president of the foundation.

In the last year, the group has updated fencing and paid for food and veterinary care of the animals in their home near Montague.

The group hopes other Islanders will help out by volunteering or donating money.

"Moonlight takes the major responsibility; we hope everybody can join and we do it together and keep this heritage on this island forever," Wang said.

The animals draw plenty of curious visitors. Unsurprisingly, they are unique on the Island.

The foundation hopes to make it a mainstream tourism destination in the province.

No more culling

Andy Fitzpatrick helps care for the animals.

"I've been around here since 1978. We used to assist at that time, care and deworming," he said.

"When [they] decided they wanted to take over this park, then I had discussions with them about management plans for the park and what they needed to do."

Previously, the population was controlled by culling.

"The Buddhists don't believe in that happening, so we had to look at a way to manage the herd size," Fitzpatrick said.

"The other factor is since the herd came here, even though a new bull was put in, I was concerned about inbreeding."

They castrated the bull to calm the herd and control the population.

Leslie VanHee visited with her children, and now comes with her grandchildren.

"It an opportunity to learn how the bison live in the natural environment and it also gives an opportunity to see something as large as this, up close and personal," she said.

Corrections

  • This article originally referred to the Moonlight International Foundation as a group of monks, which it is not.
    Jun 26, 2015 12:16 PM AT

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