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Extremely Rare White Bison Born in Yellowstone National Park

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If photography often boils down to being at the right place at the right time, then Erin Braaten hit the jackpot last week. The outdoor photographer was traveling in Yellowstone National Park last Tuesday when she caught an indelible moment: a white bison seeing the world for the first time.

Though Braaten missed the actual birth by just “a few minutes,” she snapped several photos of the rare newborn calf.

Unsurprisingly, the baby bison quickly captured the attention of animal lovers around the world. As a photographer from Montana, Braaten visits the park several times a year, she told an ABC News affiliate.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she said. “It was so surreal. I just knew it was something special and one of the coolest things I’ve ever photographed.”

Although Yellowstone officials have yet to confirm the birth, leaders of the Lakota Sioux tribe will hold a ceremony in celebration, Cowboy State Daily reported. It will take place at the headquarters of the Buffalo Field Campaign, a bison advocacy group, in West Yellowstone on June 26. 

The birth of a white bison calf holds a special significance for the Lakota Sioux, said James Holt, executive director of Buffalo Field Campaign. According to the elders’ traditions, the birth could be “both a blessing and a warning,” he said.

While white bison are extremely rare, there have been two other reports of all-white newborn bison calves recently. Within the last month, one was born at a Central Texas ranch, and another at a Wyoming state park.

Please check out the rest of Braaten’s work on Facebook, Instagram, or her website, Dancing Aspens Photography.

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