OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — An adorable addition is about to join the animals on display at the Oakland Zoo with the debut of a new baby bison.
The young bison could even have a little brother or sister on the way. The baby bison will make its public debut on Wednesday.
The 14 Elk Island bison on loan from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana arrived at the zoo last month as part of a program to repopulate the herd living on Blackfeet tribal land at Glacier National Park and Waterton National Park. The baby bison is already walking only a few days after being born.
“What we didn’t realize is that when they all came down, half of them are pregnant,” said Oakland Zoo President and CEO Joel Parrott. “So we had this great surprise of our first calf being born.”
The baby doesn’t have a name yet and officials still are not sure if it’s a boy or girl. Mom and calf are doing fine so far, and the young bison should remain safe. Bison are notoriously protective of their young.
With the new born baby, the Oakland Zoo wants to be sure that both the mother and calf get the very best food and a little more privacy. Officials have moved her, along with the rest of the herd to the other side of the park. That means that the best see them now is from the Sky Train.
Watching from the tram, visitors at first won’t see the baby bison because the herd keeps it hidden in tall grass. They even post sentries to keep an eye out for predators.
But eventually, like all children, young bison can’t resist the urge to run around.
The bison herd will be part of the new California Trail expansion scheduled to open later this summer.
“There’s only about 20,000 across the country that are pure blood Bison genetically. And we are fortunate to have brought these in in a partnership with the Black Feet Indians of western Montana,” explained Parrott.
Parrott also pointed out that another bison cow was having contractions. She too may give birth sometime in the next few hours.
“This isn’t the first and they’re going to be coming. So there are four that are near term!” said Parrott about the already expanding herd.