A Mother’s Day gift: Ouabache State Park in Bluffton has newborn bison

Bison cows Sunday appear to be giving plenty of protection to the newest member of the herd at Ouabache State Park. (Photo courtesy of Department of Natural Resources)
A bison cow stands Sunday near the newest member of the herd at Ouabache State Park. (Photo courtesy of Department of Natural Resources)

Ouabache State Park in Bluffton has a baby bison born Mother’s Day, the first since 2016.

“We will get a vet out soon to double-check things and tell us (if it’s a) boy or girl,” wrote Jody Heaston, Indiana State Parks volunteer coordinator, in an email, “it will be a little bit as the herd protects the baby at first.”

The calf’s mother had a male in 2015 and a female in 2016. Management is still deciding on whether to name the youngest member of the herd. A common nickname for baby bison is “red dog” because of the red color of their fur. Within a few months, the fur turns dark brown. Newborns can stand within 10 minutes and run within an hour, according to the park information.

The public can see the calf and the rest of the bison herd at the park, 4930 E. State Road 201, as part of the $7 per car entrance fee.

Hunting and habitat loss cut the American bison numbers from 40 million to under 1,000 in 1890, according to information from the park. A bison herd has been on the land at the park since at least 1933.

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