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A rare white bison was born in Wyoming

The chances of a bison being born white are one in 10 million, according to the National Bison Association.
White bison calf
Posted at 4:46 PM, May 30, 2023

A new white bison calf was born at Bear River State Park in Evanston earlier in May, attracting the attention of hundreds of visitors.

Just an hour and a half away from Salt Lake City, this sighting has captured the attention of many Utahns — like the White family, who are no strangers to rare occurrences, including raising spontaneous triplets.

The Whites, with their four kids, including the three triplets, embarked on a Memorial Day weekend trip to Bear River State Park upon hearing about the presence of two white bison and a newborn calf.

"We packed some binoculars and thought we'd have to be looking for them in the hills, but it turns out they're right across the fence and right off the freeway. We saw them driving in," Michael White said. "Apparently, it's not an albino buffalo; it's actually genetically a white buffalo."

Bear River State Park is home to three white bison. The first two were acquired in December 2021 and spent a year and a half in the park before another surprise came.

"We had a surprise come this spring, so now we have a calf from one of those heifers," said park superintendent Tyfani Sager.

While a significant number of people are flocking to witness the beautiful white bison and the brand-new baby calf after reports suggested they were a one-in-10-million occurrence, Sager clarified that they are not as rare as some people might think.

"There's not very many of these white bison, but they're not as rare as the albinos; those are the ones you find one in 10 million," Sager said. "It was a surprise this one was white. There was a 50/50 chance it could be brown or white."

The reason not all white bison exhibit albinism lies in their genetic makeup.

"Bison, when they almost went extinct, there were people that were concerned, biologists, ranchers. In the insider report, they say that all tested bison have some cattle DNA in them," Sager said. "This one just happens to be Charolais cattle; that's where they get their white color."

Although these white bison may not be as rare as their albino counterparts, they are quickly becoming fan favorites.

"The buffalo's amazing. Anyone that gets a chance should come up and see it," White said.

This story was originally published by Darienne DeBrule at Scripps News Salt Lake City. 

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