Ahead, Bad*** Factor Eight: Brazilian Cops Patrol on Buffaloback

In big American cities like New York, it’s not uncommon, especially during rounds of unrest, to see cops on horseback. Horses are big, strong animals; a well-trained one won’t brook any nonsense from a pedestrian, and there is a distinct intimidation factor – not to mention that a cop on horseback can go places — quickly — that a cop on foot or in a car can’t.


If it’s the intimidation factor you’re interested in, though, the military police on Brazil’s Marajó Island have upped their game – they are patrolling on buffaloback.

Brazil’s military police already have a reputation as one of the toughest combat forces on the planet. But the battalion on Marajó Island at the mouth of the Amazon River has taken things to the next level. Here they patrol the streets on buffaloes. 

The horned 1,800-pound beasts, which can pursue suspects across soggy mud flats and swim through thick mangrove swamps if necessary, are the only way to hunt down criminals across the vast island during the rainy season, police say. 

“There are places here you can’t reach by motorbike or even boat, but buffalo, now you can always get there by buffalo,” said Sgt. Ronaldo Souza, as he saddles up Minotaur, the most formidable of the battalion’s seven water buffalo, his silky black hide gleaming under the tropical sun. 

In Brazil, where there is a notoriously high crime rate, this seems like a good moove. 

The sight alone is enough to keep small-time crooks at bay, say locals who brag that this might be the only place in Brazil where you can wear a watch in public without fear of being robbed.


I should say!

Water buffalo are native to Asia, but there is a pretty fair-sized transplanted population in this part of Brazil. Besides the local cops using them to max out their badass stats, the beasts are used to pull carts and taxis, in agriculture, and even as food and dairy beasts. They are versatile critters, in addition to being big, tough, and unafraid. And in Brazil, unlike here in the U.S. and Europe, the animal rights loons aren’t much in evidence to protest the buffalo police.

See Related: Alec Baldwin and PETA Need to Shut the Hell Up

In parts of Asia, water buffalo have been put to a similar variety of uses for at least two hundred years – making it a bisontennial. It’s believable that the history of these beasts goes back much further; in fact, the long history of domestication has presented a host of uses for big, powerful, imposing animals like this. Most villagers where the buffaloes are employed just take care to keep the beasts out of china shops.

The world of science has found uses for them as well. Water buffalo are rumored to be subjects for genetic experimentation in some places, but a recent attempt to increase intelligence by splicing African Gray Parrot genes into a buffalo was abandoned, as the researchers were worried about creating a parrotox. 


But in Brazil, it’s just bisoness as usual, and the cops have only one complaint about their king-sized mounts: When the buffalo see a red light, they go.

Of course, in Australia, they have different ways of dealing with their imported buffalo.

Leave a Comment