Rare white bison at Wildlife Prairie Park dies

Tatanka(Wildlife Prairie Park/Provided photo)
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:01 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Tatanka, a rare white bison at Wildlife Prairie Park, has died.

Park CEO Roberta English says staff noticed the bison didn’t come up for his regular feeding on Saturday, September 24th. Park staff says sluggish behavior is not unusual during mating season as bulls tend to tire easily.

After the second day of staff keeping a close watch over Tatanka, they consulted with park veterinarians, and administered a common antibiotic.

His condition did not improve as expected. Park veterinarians feared an aggressive parasite might be to blame and staff promptly administered additional medications.

“We were hopeful this drug was going to help, or at least get him strong enough for a more hands on exam,” she said. “Unfortunately, he died before that could happen.”

“We are devastated because it happened so quickly, despite our best efforts.”

An autopsy was performed Saturday on the five-year-old white bison. Organ and tissue samples have been sent to the Iowa State Veterinary School of Medicine with results expected as early as Thursday.

“While Tantaka lived separate from the main herd, we are closely monitoring the rest of the bison and elk for similar symptoms and are taking precautionary measures to prevent any potential spread,” she said.

Tatanka and Lakota, a female white bison, came to Wildlife Prairie Park in 2020. They have one offspring, Tallulah, who is also white.  White Bison are rare and significant for many Indigenous peoples