White Cloud and her calf
White Cloud and her calf
White Cloud - Jamestown National Buffalo Museum

White Cloud

Article from the Jamestown Sun


White Cloud, the albino bison that has become a symbol of Jamestown, was returned Saturday to Shirek Buffalo Farm.
The National Buffalo Museum announced White Cloud’s departure Monday morning. In the press release, the museum explained that a bison can live in captivity for 20 to 25 years. Because of White Cloud’s albinism, her life expectancy is unknown.
Ken Shirek, who owns and operates Shirek Buffalo with his family, said the main reason for bringing White Cloud back to the family’s buffalo farm in Michigan, N.D., was White Cloud’s health.
“Well, she’s getting old,” he said. “Buffalo never do very good in the heat and in fly season.”
Shirek said his family discussed White Cloud’s overall health with volunteers who manage the bison herd for the National Buffalo Museum and both sides agreed that moving the 19-year-old albino bison back to Shirek Buffalo was the best move for the animal’s health.
Shirek said he is surprised that White Cloud has lived as long as she has. He said albino animals generally don’t live as long as non-albino animals.
Shirek said White Cloud will not return to Jamestown for White Cloud Days.
During her time here White Cloud has had 11 bison calves, including another albino bison named Dakota Miracle. Dakota Miracle remains part of the herd at the National Buffalo Museum.
Don Williams, president of the National Buffalo Museum’s board, said earlier Monday that White Cloud’s health was the most important factor in the decision made to send her to Shirek Buffalo.
“We are aware of her health,” he said.
Williams said Shirek Buffalo, the buffalo farm where White Cloud was born, will be able to care for White Cloud during the summer in ways the National Buffalo Museum staff and volunteers can’t.
Shirek said the people who have cared for White Cloud during her time in Jamestown did a “very good” job. He said having White Cloud be part of the herd in Jamestown was beneficial to Shirek Buffalo and the National Buffalo Museum.
White Cloud was born on July 10, 1996, at Shirek Buffalo Farm. The Shirek family wanted to make the rare albino bison more visible to the public, so the family made a special arrangement with the museum in 1997 for White Cloud to live with the bison herd that lives on the grounds around the museum.
The museum staff estimated that more than 3 million visitors have stopped to see White Cloud during the 19 years she was in Jamestown.
Ilana Xinos, National Buffalo Museum executive director, said it was kind of sad coming to work Monday knowing that White Cloud wasn’t with the bison herd.
She said White Cloud Days will not be any different this year other than no White Cloud. No matter where White Cloud is, she is a symbol of the Jamestown community, she said
“She is the idea of what makes our community special,” Xinos said.


May 24, 2016