Two Young Bison Arrive at Maymont
Release Date: October 20, 2016
Two young female bison arrived at Maymont yesterday to live in the estate’s bison habitat. The heifers are 16 months old and 17 months old, and each weighs over 600 pounds. They came to Maymont from SB Farms, Inc., a bison ranch located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Official names have not yet been selected.
“We are excited to welcome two new bison at Maymont,” said Henry “Buz” Bireline, Maymont Director of Habitats and the Nature Center. “Observing and learning about these animals helps guests connect with both native wildlife and Virginia history. Many people don’t realize that small groups of bison were formerly native to the Commonwealth. Now extinct in the wild in Virginia, these ambassadors remind us how important it is to protect and care for wildlife and wild places.”
The new arrivals join Maymont’s other bison, Snoopy, a 15-year-old female who has been in the habitat alone since the August death of her elderly 25-year-old bison companion, Maude. Maymont animal care staff acted as quickly as possible to locate additional bison to join Snoopy since bison are herd animals that typically stay in groups. While Snoopy was unaccompanied in the bison habitat, animal keepers provided extra enrichment activities and training sessions to keep her stimulated.
The American bison officially became the national mammal of the United States in May 2016 when the National Bison Legacy Act was signed into law. They are the largest mammals in North America, weighing up to 2,000 pounds and standing six feet tall. Despite their mass, they are agile and fast, running at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Bison lived in the wild in Virginia into the 1700s. Today, the largest population of bison on public lands is found in Yellowstone National Park.
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