While zoo visitors watched in awe, an American Bison calf was born on exhibit at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. New mother, Sue, went into labor around 11 a.m. and the baby was born at 12:30 p.m. on May 9.
The calf is the second Bison baby to be born at the zoo to Sue and male, Harley. Sue had their first calf, Abigail, in 2017. The new calf has been named Madison as part of the zoo’s “I Love New York” theme of naming new arrivals after New York cities and towns. Animal care staff are not yet sure of the calf’s sex.
American Bison once numbered in the millions, but they came close to extinction by 1900, when only about 1,000 remained. Conservation efforts led by the Bronx Zoo have restored the population to about 500,000 in zoos, preserves and protected parklands. In 2016, the American Bison was named the US National Mammal.
“With this second Bison birth, we are doing our part to contribute to the health of this species,” said Zoo Director, Ted Fox. “It is a great experience to participate in the conservation of this iconic animal.”
Onondaga County Executive, Ryan McMahon, said the birth represents another achievement for the zoo. “Our zoo is doing great things to help save endangered species, and this Bison calf is one more success story,” McMahon said. “My congratulations go out to zoo leadership, the animal care staff and the Cornell University Veterinary team that assists in medical care at the zoo.”
With several school field trips visiting the zoo on May 9, a small crowd gathered at the Bison exhibit as onlookers realized an animal was giving birth. Zookeepers stood by, observing from several vantage points, while a couple of keepers answered visitors’ questions.
Many visitors refer to the Bison as “buffalo,” but only Bison are native to North and South America as well as Europe. According to Ted Fox, many people confuse the two species of hoofed mammal, but Buffalo only reside in Africa and Asia.
For information on the zoo, visit www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org . For info on zoo events, visit www.syracusezooevents.org .