The wildlife population of Wyoming grew by one earlier this month when a state park welcomed an ultra-rare fuzzy white bison calf, state officials shared.
Wyoming State Parks officials shared images of the new calf on May 16, after the baby was spotted with its mother at Bear River State Park in Evanston.
The Cowboy State Daily reported that the white bison calf was born weighing 30 pounds and is doing well despite being smaller than average.
Park superintendent Tyfani Sager told the newspaper they were not yet aware of the calf’s sex, sharing, “They’re real furry, and it’s hard to tell right off the bat.”
In a post on Facebook, the park made sure fans of the tiny bison knew that it wasn’t albino but instead has a rare genetic makeup that gives the calf its rare white fur.
In 2021, the park received two white bison heifers. One of them, named Wyoming Hope, is the new calf’s mother and was bred by a resident bull at the site, something the park’s superintendent shared isn’t uncommon.
“Most of the bison you find anymore have some cattle genetics,” Sager told Cowboy State Daily. “They were nearly hunted to extinction by the late 1800s. People got concerned about extinction, and cattle inbreeding was used. A white bison birth is still fairly rare.”
The new calf is now the first white bison the park has had born on its land, officials shared.
KUTV spoke with the National Bison Association about the rarity of the situation. The association reports that having a white bison be born is a 1-in-10-million event.
The National Parks Service reports that the white buffalo calf is considered “the most sacred living thing on Earth” by many indigenous communities, including the Sioux, Cherokee, Navajo, Lakota, and Dakota.
“Some American Indians say the birth of a white calf is an omen because the birth takes place in the most unexpected places and often happens among the poorest of people,” the service said. “The birth is sacred within the American Indian communities, because it brings a sense of hope and is a sign that good times are about to happen.”