Friday, June 06, 2008

And Then There are Three White Buffaloes in Jamestown, ND

The Bismarck Tribune reported June 4:

JAMESTOWN (AP) - A second white bison calf has been
born in a herd on the edge of Jamestown that already touts an adult albino bison
and her white offspring.Staff members of the National Buffalo Museum were
shocked to find the new white calf, born Saturday to a brown bison in the herd
of about 30."To say we're all surprised would be an understatement," said Nina Sneider, director of
Buffalo City Tourism.The new calf's gender is not known, because officials have
tried to avoid disturbing the new baby and its mother."They just kind of need to
be together," said Felicia Sargeant, the director of the National Buffalo Museum
in Jamestown."He has pink eyes. We can say with a pretty good percent of
accuracy that he is albino," Sargeant said of the calf. The staff did have
to remove a sign proclaiming the herd's nearly 12-year-old albino female, White
Cloud, and her calf, Dakota Miracle, as one in a billion. No one knows what
having three albino bison in such a small herd means genetically."Obviously,
we've got some luck going for us," said Dean Anderson, president of the museum
board. "At least now, people will have a better chance of seeing a white
buffalo."Dakota Thunder, one of three bulls in the herd, carries the albino gene
and is the father of the new calf, Sargeant said. There are no solid statistics on the
odds of having one albino - let alone three, she said. Dakota Miracle was born
last summer and came through the winter as a healthy, growing young buffalo.
He's nearly as tall as his mother and retains all the characteristics of an
albino, Sargeant
said."He's going to be a big, beautiful bull," she said. He also will add to the
albino gene pool in the herd, she said.Billboards touting White Cloud and Dakota
Miracle are still up. It's too late to change the advertising for the summer
season about how rare they are."We're past the point that we can redo or
recreate them, so now it will be word of mouth, radio and television," Sneider said. "All you can
say is, 'Who would ever have thought this could happen?'"

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