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Yellowstone’s Celebrated Rare White Bison Calf Missing Weeks After Birth

Rare White Bison
White Bison Calf. Image by Erin Bratten via KTVQ News (YouTube)

A rare white bison calf born on June 4 in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley hasn’t been seen since the first week of June, park officials report.

The Birth of the White Bison Calf

Rare White Bison Calf
Image via The New York Post

Captured on camera by visitors and photographers, the calf’s photos quickly went viral on social media. The birth of this white bison calf is a significant event, especially for Native American tribes who consider the animal sacred.

Details of the Calf’s Rare Condition

Rare White Bison
White Bison Calf. Image by Erin Bratten via YouTube

The calf is leucistic, not albino, meaning it has black eyes and hooves with some pigmentation. This condition is a rare natural phenomenon, and the last similar birth in the park occurred in the late 19th century.

Significance of the Birth

Rare White Bison
White Bison Calf. Image by Erin Bratten via YouTube

The birth of the white bison calf is believed to happen in 1 in 1 million births, potentially even less frequently. It may be due to a “natural genetic legacy” present in Yellowstone’s bison population.

Yellowstone’s Bison Population

White Bison
White Bison Calf. Image by Erin Bratten via KTVQ News (YouTube)

The wild bison population in Yellowstone has been slowly rebuilt after nearly being exterminated by hunting. The population typically ranges from 3,000 to 6,000 animals in two subpopulations: the northern herd in Lamar Valley and the central herd in Hayden Valley.

Native American Community’s Response

Rare White Bison Calf
Image via The New York Post

Shortly after the calf’s birth, Native American community members welcomed the animal in a ceremony, highlighting its significance.

Ongoing Search for the Calf

White Bison Calf
White Bison Calf. Image by Erin Bratten via KTVQ News (YouTube)

Despite efforts, park staff have been unable to locate the calf since the first week of June. Visitors are encouraged to report any sightings.

The Importance of Protecting Rare Animals

Rare White Bison
White Bison Calf. Image by Erin Bratten via KTVQ News (YouTube)

The birth of the white bison calf underscores the need to protect rare and unique animals. Conservation efforts are vital to maintaining biodiversity and preserving genetic legacies.

The Role of Social Media

Rare White Bison
Rare White Bison Calf. Image by Erin Bratten via YouTube

Social media played a significant role in spreading awareness about the calf’s birth. The viral photos brought global attention to this rare event and its cultural significance.

Challenges in Conservation

bison
Image via NPS / Jacob W. Frank, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The difficulty in locating the calf highlights the challenges in wildlife conservation. Ensuring the safety and protection of rare animals requires ongoing efforts and collaboration.

Historical Context

wood bison
Wood bison bull. Arthur T. LaBar from Central Kentucky, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The last recorded birth of a similar white bison in Yellowstone was in the late 19th century. This historical context emphasizes the rarity of the event.

Genetic Legacy of Yellowstone’s Bison

Wildlife in Europe. Bison herd in the autumn forest, sunny scene with big brown animal in the nature habitat, yellow leaves on the trees, Bialowieza NP, Poland. Wildlife scene from nature. Image via Depositphotos.

The genetic legacy of Yellowstone’s bison population is crucial to understanding the occurrence of such rare births. Research and conservation efforts aim to preserve this genetic diversity.

Next Up:

Rare White Bison Calf Born in Yellowstone, Fulfilling Native American Prophecy

Baby Bison Saved From Drowning in Yellowstone Park

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