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'The ancestors are telling us something:' Bison born at Saskatoon's Wanuskewin on Truth and Reconciliation Day

Baby bison bull born on Sept. 30 Baby bison bull born on Sept. 30
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Staff at Wanuskewin celebrated Truth and Reconciliation Day with an unexpected surprise when they discovered a newborn bison among its wild herd on Sept. 30.

“It’s incredible to think of the significance of this bison calf birth here at Wanuskewin,” said Wanuskewin chief executive Darlene Brander in a press release.

“It wasn’t born on the 29th, or the 1st, it was on the 30th; a day which has such deep meaning behind it. The ancestors are telling us something important. At a certain point you cannot call this coincidence anymore.”

The growing bison herd in the heritage park holds particular significance for its connection to northern plains indigenous culture. The bison was nearly hunted to extinction by the year 1870 as Europeans flocked to the prairies to settle the land.

Bison usually give birth in the early spring, though it is possible for them to give birth later in the fall. Bison herds are protective of their young, and will ensure the calf stays warm in the cold months to come, the press release says.

“Bison are custom made for the prairie environment, and have incredible physical adaptations that allow them to thrive in our harsh climate,” says Wanuskewin bison manager Craig Thoms.

“This little bull calf will put on weight quickly and begin growing a warmer coat within the next few weeks. We will monitor him closely to make sure he has everything he needs to grow healthy and strong.”

The herd at Wanuskewin was formed from two other herds – the first originating in Grasslands National Park, and the second from Yellowstone National Park in the United States – making them descendants of the last remaining grasslands bison, says Wanuskewin.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a national heritage site that celebrates northern plains indigenous cultures.

 

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