Rare White Bison Born at a State Park in Wyoming

Bear River State Park in Wyoming got a new, cute resident recently when one of its bison gave birth to a calf. While there are a lot of bison in the park, this new arrival is particularly interesting because the calf is white. The park received two white bison heifers in 2021, but this is the first calf born on the grounds.

White bison are extremely rare, with the National Bison Association stating that they're a one in a million occurrence. Due to this rarity, they are actually held sacred by many Native American tribes. However, this calf—which has yet to be named—isn't as rare as you'd think.

In actuality, its white coloration is not due to albinism but is actually the result of mixed heritage. When bison were hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s, cattle inbreeding was used to raise the population levels. According to park superintendent Tyfani Sager, most bison we see today have some cattle genetics mixed in.

This still makes the white calf rare but not genetically unique and not nearly as rare as an albino bison. At the moment, the young calf is thriving and sticking close to its mother. Park officials have yet to determine its sex.

“We’re not sure if it’s a bull calf or a heifer calf,” Sager said. “They’re real furry and it’s hard to tell right off the bat.”

Currently, the 328-acre park is home to 10 bison and five calves. And hopefully, the young calf will have another white calf to play with when the park's second white bison is expected to breed next spring.

Bear River State Park is home to two white bison heifers, one of which gave birth to a rare white calf.

h/t: [CBS News]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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