Two Rare Occurrences Happen In Yellowstone National Park | Big Horn Basin Media

Two Rare Occurrences Happen In Yellowstone National Park

Written by on June 6, 2024

If the past week portends anything about this tourist season in Yellowstone National Park, it’s going to be a summer to remember.

So far, two rare occurrences have happened, making people on social media go into a tizzy with excitement and celebration.

First, a momma grizzly was captured on video with her litter of five cubs.  Online speculation about how one mom could give birth to a brood of five has ranged from “miraculous” to perhaps some of those cubs could’ve been adopted from another momma bear.

This week, a Yellowstone tour guide named Andrea Baratte shared with Cowboy State Daily a video he’d taken that morning of a grizzly sow with five cubs in tow.

Experts say that when grizzlies are in the wild, the females will occasionally adopt and raise cubs that aren’t their own, which might account for such an unusually large Yellowstone grizzly family.

Beyond the speculation of how the five came to be, whether it’s a “Brady Bunch” situation (blended family) or it was Mother Nature tasking one momma with giving birth to five little ones, this could be a record of sorts for the Park.  A grizzly litter of five could very well could be a first for Yellowstone Park, and perhaps for the entire region.

“Five cubs in a litter are the most we have ever observed in the park, at least from 1959 to present — the period of the park’s history we have good records for,” National Park Service spokeswoman Linda Veress told Cowboy State Daily.

Federal bear researcher Frank van Manen agreed that it’s likely a first in Yellowstone country.

“A litter of five cubs would be a first for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” said van Manen, the supervisory research biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

The second rare happening in Yellowstone National Park this week was the sighting of a white bison calf being born.

Park visitor and wildlife photographer Erin Braaten witnessed the calf’s birth in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.

“The afterbirth, the placenta was still there, and the calf was just standing up,” she told Cowboy State Daily.

According to the University of Colorado at Boulder, a white buffalo is not only rare, but revered in Native American culture.

“For more than 2,000 years, Lakota (Sioux) elders have been passing the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman to younger generations. The legend tells of a time when the Lakota had lost their ability to pray to the Creator. A young woman in shining white buckskin appeared to teach the people to pray during seven sacred rites, and she gave them the White Buffalo Calf Chanupa, or pipe, which played an important role in each of the rites. As she left, she told them that she would return to establish peace, harmony and balance. ”


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