A revered albino bison returned on Tuesday to the part of North Dakota where she lived most of her life. This time, though, "White Cloud" was making the trip from a taxidermist to the National Buffalo Musum in Jamestown.
It was about a year earlier when White Cloud had left the museum's resident herd to live out her final six months on the ranch where she was born near Michigan, North Dakota.
White Cloud died at the Shirek Buffalo Ranch last November. But her time there essentially bookended her prime years, which were spent outside the museum.
That's where an estimated 3 million visitors stopped to appreciate the sight of the extremely rare white buffalo, as bison are commonly called. White Cloud gave birth to 11 calves over her years at the musuem, including a white bull named Dakota Miracle.
Donations paid for the taxidermy
News Dakota says the police escort that accompanied the trailer carrying White Cloud Tuesday morning was reminiscent of one that first brought her to town in 1997.
According to the site, the $50,000 to pay for having the buffalo stuffed and mounted came from donations, including a $30,000 gift from David and JoAnn Vining. Inside the museum, an exhibit on White Cloud is in the works and she will not be on display until it is ready.
The radio station Big Dog 95.5 posted a video of White Cloud's delivery Tuesday.
Spiritual significance of white buffalo
The American Indian College Fund says the National Bison Association has estimated that one in 10 million bison is born white.
White buffalo are considered sacred by a number of native tribes. Several stories explaining their significance are collected here.
In particular, the Dakota (also known as Lakota or Sioux) have revered white buffalo for centuries.
According to one Lakota website, spiritual leader John Lame Deer has called a white buffalo “the most sacred living thing you could ever encounter.”