Seeing the bison herds at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in the Ozarks is cool enough, but now there’s an extra special reason to visit this winter. Earlier this year, the herd of 25 welcomed a rare white baby American bison named Takoda, a Sioux word that means “friend to everyone.”
White bison are highly symbolic in Native American tradition. According to their teachings, a white bison is a sacred animal that “promotes prayerful communication between Indigenous people and the Great Spirit, and [is] also a sign of peace and good fortune,” the park explains.
Bob Ziehmer, Senior Director of Conservation for Bass Pro Shops, which helps operate the park, said in a statement, “Welcoming a remarkable white bison like this to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park allows us to expand on the important message that Native Americans live out an unwavering conservation ethic. Their wisdom and understanding about the vital balance between land and people inspires our core conservation principles, even today.”
If you visit Dogwood Canyon, the best way to see Takoda is by taking a Wildlife Tram Tour — a two-hour guided tour that takes passengers through the canyon and into the ridgetops, home to herds of bison, elk, and deer.