Rare White Bison Calf Born in Yellowstone National Park


WASHINGTON (AP) — A recent emergence of a rare white bison calf in Yellowstone National Park has sparked curiosity amid park officials and experts. The unlikely sighting, captured in stunning photographs, features a fuzzy white infant being cuddled by its dark-brown mother.

However, staff at Yellowstone, which cares for about 5,000 wild bison, or American buffalo, across Wyoming and Montana, are yet to concur. They claim it’s been too early this month for them to spot one. Leucism or albinism could be driving the white coloring, as cells that typically produce melanin are missing or present in reduced qualities.

Leucistic animals, distinct from albinos who lack all melanin, may produce a range of white patterns, from streaks to patches, alongside normal-darker colored eyes. Alb Integration, however, results when melanin is completely absent — a less common occurrence. Since the calf sports a nose and eyes, it probably isn’t an albino or leucistic.

Texas A&M University geneticist James Derr notes that it’s possible the biracial pairing of a bison dad and a white domestic cow could impregnate a light-bodied calf with a brown-red coat and darker eyes. The National Bison Association’s executive director, Jim Matheson, admits they have no database tracking how often white deer are born in the wild.

“How often does it happen? Only time and further research will help answer this question in the near future,” replied Matheson.

Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City.

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