The Lehigh Valley Zoo recently welcomed another new addition to the family. A baby bison (calf) was born on the land surrounding the Zoo—the Trexler Nature Preserve—on the afternoon of May 19th. This joyous event not only intensifies the Zoo’s cuteness factor, but it carries unique significance because, only 10 days prior on May 9th, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law. The Act names the American Bison as the national mammal of the United States and places it in the ranks of the Bald Eagle— as a symbol of our country and a major conservation success story.
The calf and mom are being monitored by Lehigh Valley Zoo animal care staff as they roam the hillsides of the 1,100-acre Trexler Nature Preserve which surrounds the Zoo property. Lehigh Valley Zoo is contracted by Lehigh County to care for the elk and bison in the Trexler Nature Preserve. Also included in the County’s contract with the Zoo are palomino horses, which reside within the Zoo.
When asked about the health of the new baby, Richard Rosevear, General Curator at Lehigh Valley Zoo, noted the following. “The bison are, essentially, a wild herd of unpredictably temperamental animals. The Zoo’s animal care team is watching the calf and mother closely to ensure that they are thriving in their natural wild habitat. Our goal is to allow the mother and herd to take care of the calf on their own. To date, the calf appears to be doing well.”
Bison calves can weigh up to 40 or 50 pounds at birth and adults can range between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds. In contrast to the dark brown fur of adults, bison calves have reddish fur and can walk and even run within three hours of their birth. The baby and mother can be seen with the herd in the Preserve.
“President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, along with Lehigh County resident General Harry C. Trexler, were the original conservation leaders. General Trexler had the conservation wisdom to protect the American Bison from over hunting and created the Trexler Game Preserve. From 1911 through today, our County has been home to a herd of bison. The calf is a reminder of how our County supports protecting species from extinction,” stated a County representative. He continued by urging the public to, “Visit the Zoo, drive through the beautiful Preserve, see the bison, and remember to bring your camera.”