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Two Week Old Bison Featured Attraction at West Virginia Wildlife Center

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FRENCH CREEK -

The West Virginia Wildlife Center showcases many animals that are native to our state, and all those animals you see up close, even its newest addition.

Once found in large numbers throughout West Virginia and North America, bison are now confined to public lands, private ranches, and local zoos. But at the West Virginia Wildlife Center there's a new attraction to the population of the bison."

"It's two weeks old, it was born on Friday at 4:45 in the evening, said Dan Giles.

This bison calf has a lot of growing up before it becomes the size of buffalos. Some can weigh between 1,200 and 2,400 pounds.

"We've had one or two born over the years here. It's quite an excitement to see one born and see it raised up and everything," Giles said.

It's estimated 300 million buffalo roamed North America, and were essential to the lifestyles of the Plains Indians. After years of endless slaughter there were only 541 remaining in 1889. Through careful management their numbers have increased nationwide.

The wildlife center stays busy during Spring and Summer months. On Friday, several bands participating in the Strawberry Festival were enjoying their visit. Some were from neighboring states like Ohio, and even a group from Mexico took in the sights.

"It's an educational trip too. The children get to learn about animals that are native to West Virginia, such as the Bison that they don't get to see out in the wild today," said Judy Channell.

Wildlife officials said it's exciting for people to see the animals up close, like the buffalo, but they need to remember these are animals that still roam wild.

"They're very unique animal, They're very large animal. There beautiful to look at, but very unpredictable," Giles said.