W.Va. Wildlife Center welcomes new baby bison

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New bison calf at W.Va. Wildlife Center
Bison calf welcomed May 2, 2014, at WV Wildlife Center

The newest resident of the West Virginia Wildlife Center at French Creek is accepting visitors. Born May 2, the female bison, who’s name has not yet been reported, is apparently hale, though a little unsteady, according to Rob Silvester, a wildlife biologist at the center.

“A bison calf can walk almost immediately after birth, albeit a bit wobbly. It will begin to nurse within minutes as well… [and] will nurse for four to six months before beginning to nibble on grass and grain,” Silvester said.

The calf will have plenty of room to roam at the facility, which is home to a small herd of adult bison, representatives of the millions that once wandered West Virginia and which lent their names to several streams, mountains, and villages, including the town of Buffalo, West Virginia, on the Kanawha River in Putnam County.

Managed by the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources, the wildlife center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1 through Oct. 31 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 through March 31 and includes a 1.25-mile, wheelchair-accessible walkway along which visitors can observe native and non-native wildlife in an authentic woodland enivironment.

“This is a great opportunity for the public to see a bison calf. If you want to see one in the wild you’d have to go out West. This is a big event for the Wildlife Center, and we hope people will visit us over the spring and summer to help us celebrate.”

Located n WV-20 at French Creek, the center is approximately 12 miles south of the US-33 expressway at Buckhannon, West Virginia, and 35 miles west of I-79 at Sutton, West Virginia.

For more information or to schedule group visits, pavilion reservations or guided tours, please call 304-924-6211 or visit www.wvdnr.gov/Wildlife/WildlifeCenter.shtm.