Rare white bison calf missing month after birth

Bison or buffalo silhouetted

YELLOWSTONE — The birth of a rare white bison made headlines a month ago, but it’s been nearly a month since the calf was last seen.

Yellowstone National Park officials said they haven’t seen the calf since June 4, The Associated Press reported.

“To date, park staff have been unable to locate the calf,” officials said on Yellowstone’s website.

Some believe the calf’s birth in the Lamar Valley fulfilled a Lakota prophecy that promises a better time ahead. It was the first time a white bison was born at Yellowstone.

It was named Wakan Gli, or “Return Sacred” in Lakota, granting the animal its name during a ceremony held last week, USA Today reported.

A white bison’s birth is extremely rare, happening in the wild, at most, one in every 1 million births, park service officials said. It is a leucistic calf with black eyes and black hooves with some pigmentation. It is not an albino animal.

Park service officials confirmed through photos that the bison was born, along with reports from park visitors, professional wildlife watchers, animal researchers, and wilderness guides.

It is not known if the calf is alive, but officials said that one in every five calves do die after birth because of the many hazards little ones face in nature, including predators, river currents and illness, the AP reported.

Buffalo Field Campaign founder Mike Mease is holding out hope that the calf is alive though maybe not near roads and walkways, where visitors frequent. Still, park rangers who work in the backcountry of Yellowstone haven’t seen further signs of the calf.

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