A Minnesota state park recently made an exciting announcement about their growing bison herd. The herd lives at Minneopa State Park in Mankato, Minnesota and park officials are reporting a record number of bison calves that were born into the herd this spring.

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This bison herd is genetically rare so it's really exciting to see a record number of calves being born. Park officials are estimating 16 calves were born this year. Scott Kudelka, the Minneopa area park naturalist for the Department of Natural Resources, talked to MPR News about the calves. He said that there may actually be 14 calves instead of 16 because “'the problem with calves is they never want to lie or stand in one area'”.

Minnesota park
Courtesy of MN DNR
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Whether the number is 14 or 16, that still is a record number of newborns since the bison were reintroduced to Minneopa State Park in 2015. The previous record was 13. I mentioned that the herd is genetically rare, and that's because they're "bison that have not been significantly cross bred with cattle." In 2021 the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Zoo teamed up to help protect these bison which is why they were then reintroduced to the Minneopa State Park area.

The goal with this herd is to get their numbers up to 500. Currently, after these claves were born, there are about 47 bison. So while there's still a ways to go, it's very exciting that 16 (or 14) new calves were born this spring. We're going in the right direction!

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