White Bison

99 Counties | FIND Iowa
Jul 21, 2024 | 02:11

Why do you think that living things look similar to their parents?

A rare white bison can be seen at Botna Bend Park in Pottawattamie County. A rare combination of genes gives this bison it's color. 


Abby Brown:

As you look at this amazing herd of bison, do you see anything unusual? At Botna Bend Park, in Pottawatomie County, a bison herd grazes its way through the landscape. Most of the herd members are brown, but this one is white. What's going on here? Scientists have learned that genes are what determine how we look. So we all inherit traits from our parents. Same goes for the plant and animal world. Most bison in the U.S have genes from both bison and cattle. The white bison in this herd is 94 percent bison. So, many generations ago, one of its ancestors was a cow that carried a trait that caused a white color. I feel so lucky to have gotten to see a white bison just because they're so uncommon. When Europeans first came to America, bison were hunted almost to extinction. Their numbers went from about 30 million to a low point of less than a thousand. Thankfully, people took action to save this awesome animal, and today there are about 500,000 bison in the United States.

Every county in Iowa has a scientific story to tell. Thanks for checking out a rare white bison with me in Pottawattamie County.