Texas White Bison


Texas White Bison

Stampeding Bison

Fort Worth is Where the Texas White Bison Roamed

Spring 2013 to Spring 2014

     A pregnant white bison (AKA White Buffalo) arrived at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge and was kept in isolation until the calf was born.  The calf is also a white bison.  Shortly after the birth, both were introduced to the refuge's bison herd; increasing its population to 31.

     To protect the DNA purity of the main herd, the mother and calf were transferred to a private Texas ranch with an established white bison population.  This website tells the story of their brief stay, why their existence is so significant, and raises awareness that Fort Worth remains the home of a sizeable bison population.

     This is an educational website for the benefit of the Texas school children and teachers.  They are free to copy and reproduce all text and images for student reports, student art, and lesson plans.  Naturally, there is a quiz.  Let us know how you did.

White Bison are Sacred to Native North Americans

     White bison are a symbol of manifestation and abundance for Native North Americans.  Their storytellers describe a time of plenty and how great herds of bison surrounded their camps after a visit by the White Buffalo Calf Woman.  The birth of a sacred white bison provides a sense of hope and promises good times are to come.

The Legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman

     A long time ago, two Lakota Sioux warriors were hunting for bison when a very beautiful woman appeared.  One of the men had evil thoughts about the woman and spoke about these openly.  His friend realized she was a sacred woman and begged his friend to put aside all bad thoughts.

     The woman knew their thoughts and gave the men permission to approach.  Only the foolish warrior came towards her and then both were engulfed in a white cloud.  When the cloud dissipated all that remained of the foolish man was a worm-infested skeleton.

     The second warrior was afraid.  Then she told him to return to his village and tell his people she would visit soon.  She also told him she wanted a big tepee built for her in the center of their nation.  He did as he was told and they waited for her after building the big tepee.

     She arrived singing sweet songs and was incredibly beautiful.   As she sang a white cloud came from her moth that was good to smell.  Then she gave a pipe to the Chief with twelve Eagle feather hanging from the stem symbolizing the sky and the twelve moons.  The feathers were bound by a grass that never breaks.  A Bison calf was carved on one side symbolizing the Earth that bears and feeds us.

     She proclaimed the pipe was a symbol for a good people that will multiply and become a good nation.  Only the hands of the good shall take care of the pipe.  Those who are evil shall not even see it.  The White Buffalo Calf Pipe is said to exist to this day and is kept by Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (credit to Ruth Hopkins - see her article "Prophecy of the White Buffalo" in the Bisonucopia Section).

     This Holy Woman taught the Lokota people the mysteries of the Earth.  She taught them to pray and follow the path of goodness.  She taught them sacred ceremonies, dances, and songs.  She stayed four days and while leaving changed into a white bison calf.  The white bison calf rolled on the ground four times.  Each time she changed color; from white to black; to yellow; to red; and back to white.  And then she left with the promise to return at the end of an age and appear again as a white buffalo calf.

How DNA Plays a Role in White Bison Procreation

     The Media often repeats an unsubstantiated phrase that the chances of a white bison's birth are one in ten million.  However this lacks statistical credibility and brings into question the journalistic integrity of those making such statements.  Their math does not equal today's reality.  At most there are only 200 thousand bison in America and approximately fifty are white.  One out of every four bison births are white for an Oregon herd.

     Ruth Hopkins theorizes the massive slaughter of millions of North American bison created a population bottleneck.  Population bottlenecks result in less variation within gene pools.  Recessive genes that are rare in large populations become more frequent in small populations.  Reproducing individuals are more likely to produce offspring without some dominant genes.

Getting up early is needed to see the Fort Worth Bison
(also a little luck)

     The best opportunity to see the Fort Worth Bison during summer months is to arrive at the Fort Worth Nature Center as soon as they open their gates.  Park near the Prairie Dog Town and follow the path to a large fenced-in enclosure where you have to make a left turn.  Continue following the trail and the entire bison herd will often be seen grazing.  This is an excellent opportunity snap photos by getting up next to the fence.

     Watch for restlessness and movement as the Alpha Bull begins making his way towards the fence opening between the enclosure and Prairie Dog Town.  Once he moves through the fence opening the rest of the herd quickly follows; often at a gallop.  If you recognize the signs, you can reposition next to Prairie Dog Town in time to take more great photos.  Timing is crucial since delaying your move may mean missing some great images because the herd often moves quickly past Prairie Dog Town for cover.

     Bison Watchers need to exercise a reasonable degree of caution and control any children with them.  Loud noises can startle the bison.  There are also snakes around and large skunks can often be seen foraging (hopefully from a distance).  Finally, apply generous amounts of bug repellant spray because the vegetation is often infested with chiggars.

The Bison Herd goes into Seclusion during Late Fall and Winter

     After Summer ends the entire herd is moved to an 80 acre enclosure with lots of trees and vegetation.  With a little luck visitors may be able to take photos of a few bison grazing near the road.  Most of the herd remains hidden in areas inaccessible to the Public.  However there are special events offered to allow limited access.  These include hay feeding rides.  Those interested should contact Refuge Staff.



This website was inspired by Riley.  She ❤ the Texas White Bison.