‘Rare’ white bison calf draws crowds to Evanston

May 30, 2023, 6:12 PM

The 'rare' white calf that was born in Bear River State park, in Evanston, Wyoming. (KSL TV)...

The 'rare' white calf that was born in Bear River State park, in Evanston, Wyoming. (KSL TV)


EVANSTON, Wym. — A new white bison calf is bringing many people to Evanston, Wyoming, but it might not be as rare as some people think.

The albino bison is extremely rare, about one in ten million, and it’s considered a sacred symbol of renewal to the Lakota Sioux and other indigenous tribes,

“I think it’s amazing,” said Gina Young with her husband, Kenny Young.

The couple are from Georgia and on their way to Canada. They made a point of stopping at Bear State Park to see the rare calf.

“Actually, it popped up on my Facebook yesterday in Cheyenne that a white calf had been born,” Kenny said.

Bear State Park Superintendent Tyfani Sager said the rumor initially spread that the calf was an extremely rare albino bison, a one in ten-million chance.

“We have had a lot of people coming out to see it. We’ve had quite the uptick, probably about a third more people than what we would have expected,” Sager said.

A white bison mom with another white calf. (KSL TV)

Sager said the calf comes from one of two white heifers the park got about a year and a half ago. They get their white fur from generations of cross-breeding with a type of white cattle.

The white bison calf has a normal brown bison father, so Sager figured there was a 50-50 chance of it coming out white.

“So they’re not one in ten million. There is not a huge population of these white bison, but they are not necessarily rare,” Sager explained.

But they are a big deal to many who see them and own them.

“When you’re around them, you can feel that they’re special,” said Jared Westhoff, co-owner of the Zion White Bison Resort in Virgin, Utah.

The resort bought two white bison, and a calf was born last March.

“From my experience of being around them, I can see why they’re spiritually significant,” Westhoff expressed. “I can feel almost like they’re prehistoric and have been here a long time. They’re pretty incredible to be around.”

So, whether they’re as sacred as the albino may depend on who you talk to, much like the fact that they’re not one in ten million.

“Didn’t bother us at all whether it’s albino or just white,” Kenny said.

“Just excited to see it,” Gina added.

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‘Rare’ white bison calf draws crowds to Evanston