Jamestown white bison calf named Dakota Miracle

Jamestown, North Dakota (AP) 1-08

It’s a Dakota Miracle.

"White Cloud," the albino bison, stands with her
newly-named calf,
"Dakota Miracle."

AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner

The name officially was announced during January, as the one chosen for the white bull calf born to White Cloud, the albino bison at Jamestown’s National Buffalo Museum.

The museum sponsored a naming contest for the calf, White Cloud’s fifth, which was born Aug. 31. Tom and Linda Ray of Jamestown submitted the winning entry.

“Having a second one born was sort of a miracle, so we put the idea of a miracle with part of our state’s name,” Tom Ray said.

Museum officials say tests still must confirm the calf is a true albino, but the pink eyes and other markings are strong evidence.

An albino bison, revered by some American Indians as a symbol of rebirth, is rare and the birth of an albino calf, by some estimates, is a 1-in-10 million occurrence.

“We are making history here,” said Felicia Sargeant, the director of the Jamestown museum.

The museum reported 1,374 contest entries to name the calf, including two from Germany and one from Canada. White Cloud and her calf have drawn more visitors to the area, Sargeant said.

Daniel and Jean Shirek, of the northeastern North Dakota town of Michigan, own White Cloud and lease her to the buffalo museum. She was born in 1996, and joined the Jamestown herd 11 years ago. Her first calf was born in 2000.

White Cloud’s first four calves – three females and a male – were normal-colored bison, officials said.