Finally, a future free from the ugly vulgarity of impure bison is within our grasp! The very first genetically pure bison produced with embryo transfer was born in June at the Bronx Zoo, which—after determining the calf was healthy and normal—announced the news today. Reproductive physiologists collected embryos non-surgically from a herd of genetically pure bison managed by the USDA, and then implanted them into the surrogate bison, which was moved to the Bronx Zoo to give birth.

The American bison, which once roamed North America in the tens of millions, teetered on the brink of extinction in the early 20th century. In 1907 and 1913, the Bronx Zoo sent two herds of bison out west to re-establish the species. In a statement sent out today, zoo officials explain:

Today, bison number in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. and are found in state and national parks, wildlife refuges, and on tribal and private lands. However the vast majority of present-day bison have traces of domestic cattle genes, a reflection of past interbreeding efforts when western ranchers tried to create a hardier breed of cattle. Bison from Yellowstone National Park are among the few genetically pure animals left.

"This science illustrates that we can engineer breeding of pure-bred bison so that their valuable genetics can be incorporated into other herds or used to create new herds,” says Dr. Barfield, CSU Assistant Professor. “We are able to produce bison that have pure genetics and are also free of any diseases that can afflict the bison population at Yellowstone.”

The bison was born on June 20th, and in the fall a second round of embryo transfer will be attempted with the herd of surrogate females, with the goal of eventually establishing a breeding herd of genetically pure bison. Here's silent b-roll of the new calf in action:

Silent Video: Genetically Pure Bison Calf at Bronx Zoo from Gothamist on Vimeo.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, the Intertribal Buffalo Council, and the National Bison Association have also launched a campaign to make the American bison the national mammal of the United States. If you're interested in supporting legislation to make that happen, visit Vote Bison!