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Press Release: Maymont Mourns Loss of Beloved Bison, Snoopy

Media Contact:
Melissa Abernathy, Communications Manager
804-358-7166, ext. 315


Richmond, Virginia – Maymont is saddened to share with the community the recent loss of Snoopy, the senior matriarch of the three female American bison who live at Maymont. She passed away after a brief illness on Sunday, April 3, a few months shy of her 21st birthday. Snoopy was under close observation by Maymont Animal Keepers and receiving medical attention from local veterinarians for the past few weeks due to a loss of appetite.

Snoopy will be greatly missed by Maymont staff and guests alike. In addition to her regular diet of hay and bowls of grain, Snoopy had a fondness for red apples and the seasonal Christmas trees to snack on. Most active when the temperatures were mild, between 60–75F, she was often seen sunning herself in the grass and occasionally browsing her local surroundings. Her two companions, Dakota and Cheyenne, will receive extra care and attention as they adjust to the loss of Snoopy.

“Snoopy lived to a ripe old age for a bison,” said Joe Neel, Maymont Senior Manager of Zoology. “The average life span of a wild bison is 12 to 20 years. Like many of the animals who come to live at Maymont, where they are safe from predators and given a healthy diet and room for exercise, she lived to the age of a typical domesticated bison of 20 to 25 years.”

“Snoopy represented an important piece of American history. Many people don’t realize that bison used to live in Virginia. As she and her two companions roamed the hills and valley in their range at Maymont, they gave guests a tangible sense of the importance of conservation efforts,” said Parke Richeson, Maymont Executive Director.

Snoopy arrived at Maymont as a two-year-old in July 2003, from the Virginia Zoological Park. For 19 years, she has served as an animal ambassador, teaching guests about North America’s largest mammal. Bison herds once roamed the entire continent from coast to coast, but were hunted nearly to extinction in the late 1800s, when conservationists intervened to preserve wild herds in Western states.

Maymont is a well-preserved, historic 100-acre American estate overlooking the James River that was given to the public by James and Sallie Dooley, who lived there from 1893 to 1925. Today, Maymont is a welcoming community gathering place, with many unique experiences for all to enjoy, including the historic Maymont Mansion, The Robins Nature Center, an arboretum, formal gardens, and habitats for native Virginia wildlife and farm animals. Consistently ranked one of Central Virginia’s top attractions by travelers and locals alike, Maymont serves over 800,000 guests annually, with free admission to the grounds, plus guided and self-guided tours, seasonal events, programs and rental spaces. Since 1975, Maymont has been maintained and operated by the nonprofit Maymont Foundation, committed to creating programs and experiences that delight, educate and inspire its guests.

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Note to editors: photos are available upon request.

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