Extremely rare, 1-in-10 million white bison born at Yellowstone

Extremely rare, 1-in-10 million white bison born at Yellowstone

Visitors at Yellowstone National Park were left amazed recently after an unexpected animal sighting: a newborn white bison.

White bisons are not only extremely rare, making up just one-in-ten-million births, but are also considered sacred by the Lakota — one leader said the arrival was a “blessing and a warning.”

Yellowstone is home to many majestic animals, but visitors earlier this month witnessed one that was truly awe-inspiring and extremely rare.

Photographer Erin Braaten was visiting the park with her family when she spotted “something really white” in the park’s Lamar Valley on June 4, according to AP.

That small white creature turned out to be a newborn white bison, an extremely rare animal that makes up just 1 in 10 million bison births. It’s even rarer to see a white bison this young: Braaten said she missed the birth “by a few minutes.”

She said she was “totally floored” by the rare sighting; she says they watched the calf and mother for 30-45 minutes, but never saw the calf again on return trips.

white bison was born last year in Bear River State Park in Evanston, Wyoming; another was born in Wisconsin in 1994.

The birth of this white bison is special not just because it is extremely rare, but also because the white bison is considered a sacred symbol by many Native American tribes.


The animal holds special significance to the Lakota, to whom the “White Buffalo Calf Woman” is a prophet central to their religion. The legend states that the woman appeared thousands of years ago in a time of famine, providing a sacred ceremonial pipe and taught them the seven sacred ceremonies.

She then turned into a white buffalo calf, and promised to return again in that form during hard times.

“To American Indians, a White Buffalo Calf is the most sacred living thing on earth,” the National Park Service wrote. “The calf is a sign to begin life’s sacred loop… 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.”


After the news of this white bison calf’s arrival, tribal leaders regarded it as a sign that more must be done to help the earth and animals.

“The birth of this calf is both a blessing and warning. We must do more,” Chief Arvol Looking Horse, keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe and spiritual leader of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Oyate in South Dakota, told AP.

What an amazing sight — please share this remarkable news and welcome this rare white bison to the world! 🤍❤️

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