“Late bloomer” bison calf born in Iowa’s Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

It’s not often bison baby announcements are made in the fall at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, but the park in Iowa unexpectently has one very new — and very cute — member of its bison herd.

The refuge, which is east of Des Moines, said while most calves are born in spring and summer, making a fall calf “uncommon,” its herd has had late-season calves born before.

And, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tweeted, “those late bloomers grew up just fine.”

“Welcome to the world, little ‘red dog,'” the USFWS said over the weekend.

Naturally, the usual late fall birth made people wonder.

What are the chances of the newborn’s survival?

Not to worry — at least not too much — the Fish and Wildlife Service responded.

“Nature can sometimes be cruel, but staff at the refuge state that their late born calves have done well in the past,” USFWS tweeted.

The refuge was created to protect fracture prairie grassland ecosystems. It’s home to a small herd of plains bison that live in an 800-acre enclosure shared with elk.

Main photo: Joan Van Gorp

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