Bison Calf Scrambles up Huge Hill, Determined to Keep up With Herd in Viral Clip

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

You’ve heard of The Little Engine That Could, but what about a new spin on the nearly-century-old tale: “The Little Bison That Could?” A sweet video, which you can view here, shows a determined bison calf making his way up a huge hill, committed to keeping up with his herd.

At first, we can’t see the calf—all we see are two large mature bison meandering up the hillside. Suddenly though, an orangey-brown calf appears in the frame.

“It’s trying!” we can hear the videographer say.

At the top of the hill, the adults patiently wait for the calf to catch up. It’s a hard trek and the little bovine stumbles a couple of times, but he manages to keep his footing and push forward up the hill. Keeping his body close to the ground and his knees tightly locked behind him, he finally makes it to the peak of the hillside, much to our relief. Finally, he crests the hill and is able to move forward less rigidly. The viral clip ends as the orange-brown baby disappears behind one of the adults.

The clip, which was featured on Unofficial Networks, was taken at Yellowstone National Park, whose bison population is plentiful. The caption of the clip read, “Mom was forging up the hill then noticed the baby was struggling. Life in the wilderness is difficult but the baby made it.”

National Park Service Successfully Relocates Several Hundred Bison to Tribal Lands

Yellowstone isn’t the only national park in the U.S. that boasts a thriving bison population. Farther south, Grand Canyon National Park boasts a unique variation of the American bison, which have recently earned themselves the nickname, “forest ninja bison.”

These forest ninja bison occupy the vast landscape of Grand Canyon National Park, known especially for their stealthiness in even the thickest brush. In 1900, the bison population in the Arizona national park sat at a sustainable 100 individuals. By 2018, however, that number had exploded to 600 and was no longer sustainable for the park, posing a threat to local vegetation and water sources.

In order to both protect and maintain a healthy bison herd as well as the local landscape, the National Park Service teamed up with the InterTribal Buffalo Council (ITBC) in order to live capture a good portion of the park’s bison and relocate them to tribal lands.

Well, fortunately, those efforts have paid off. Enacting the Initial Bison Herd Reduction Plan, park officials successfully relocated 300 bison away from Grand Canyon National Park over the last several years. Most recently, eight different Native American tribes welcomed 182 bison to their reservations with the help of the ITBC. InterTribal director Troy Heinert said of the relocation efforts, “Buffalo were an indigenous food source. And recreating that connection with buffalo takes us back to who we are as Indigenous people.”