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Hills & Heights

Maymont menagerie grows by two bison

If you took your time machine to Virginia back to the 1700s you might stumble across a herd of wild bison.




Earlier this year Maymont lost one of it’s senior bison. This week Maymont welcomed two new bison members into the family.

Details from the Maymont blog:

Two young female bison arrived at Maymont yesterday to live in the estate’s bison habitat. (Watch the video of their arrival above.) 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.

Maymont’s animals, including the bison, require annual veterinary care, enrichment activities and habitat maintenance to stay healthy. This all adds up to an annual cost of $500,000. Show your support for your favorite by joining Maymont’s Adopt an Animal program. Your symbolic adoption helps your furry, feathered and finned animal friends, and you receive great benefits in return. Adopt an Animal today.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.