Wednesday June 12, 2024

Rare white bison born in Bear River State Park in Wyoming

They are uncommon due to their genetic makeup, but not as uncommon as albino bison, which are born roughly one in 10 million times

By Web Desk
May 31, 2023
This representational picture shows a rare white bison. — Unsplash/File
This representational picture shows a rare white bison. — Unsplash/File

A rare white bison was welcomed by staff at Wyoming's Bear River State Park recently, following the birthing season.

According to Bear River State Park's superintendent, Tyfani Sager, one of the park's two heifers had given birth to a white calf, the first in the park’s 32-year history, earlier this month, calling it a "little white ball of fluff," The Guardian reported.

White bison are incredibly uncommon and revered by many Native American tribes in the American West, the report added.

White buffalo from Bear River are genetically related to Charolais cattle, which is why they have characteristic snowy coats. 

Although their genetic structure makes them rare, they are not as unusual as albino bison, which only occur in about one in 10 million births.

Sager informed that the baby was born on May 16 between 6:30 and 7:30am.

“It was up and suckling on mom within 15 minutes after it was born.” Safer said.

The calf is healthy, she added. It sleeps, nurses mom, and often runs in circles, which park staff affectionately call the “zoomies”.

The calf is one of the tiniest in the park, weighing in at roughly 30 lbs, compared to other bison born at 60 lbs, Sager added. 

Nevertheless, it is too early for staff to determine its sex without going close to the animal, which can cause herd stress.

Sager opined that the animal's diminutive stature is likely a result of its mother's age. While most bison are at least three years old when they give birth to their first calf, Wyoming Hope was only two years old and not nearly fully developed when she gave birth.

As word of the animal's birth spread, the park has had a "dramatic uptick" in visitors, according to Sager. 

Normally, Bear River has approximately 1,000 visitors each day, but due to the demand from individuals eager to view the unusual calf, that number has increased by roughly 300. The public is welcome to use the park for free.

Sager noted that the staff at Bear River is looking for suggestions from the public as they have not yet decided on a name for the infant.

Bear River staff have not yet settled on a name for the baby, Sager said, and are soliciting suggestions from the public. They are considering names including Equality, Liberty, Sparky, and Pearl.