Golden Gate Park’s Oldest Bison Dies
Sadly, the oldest bison in Golden Gate Park passed away on Monday. “Last Cow” was 22 years old leaving a group of six bison remaining in the park.
The oldest female American bison—which was cared for by the San Francisco Zoological Society and living in the spacious bison meadow in Golden Gate Park—passed away on Monday, November 3, 2014. Given her advanced age, Zoo animal staff had been closely monitoring the 22-year-old bison, named “Last Cow,” for several months. There are six remaining bison in the park today; the remaining six are each 3 years old. These animals were brought to Golden Gate Park to enhance the aging herd in 2011.
“We take special care to accommodate the needs of our geriatric animals. Her longevity can be attributed to the great care provided by her animal care staff,” said Graham Crawford, San Francisco Zoo Chief of Veterinary Services.
In a collaborative partnership, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department maintains the bison meadow, and veterinary services as well as daily care are provided by the San Francisco Zoological Society. This particular animal was one of the original descendants of a 1984 birthday present to former San Francisco Mayor and current United States Senator Dianne Feinstein from her husband, Richard Blum.
About American Bison
The largest living animal native to North America, American bison were brought to Golden Gate Park in February, 1891 by the Park Commission. At the time, bison were on the brink of extinction. The thriving herd gave birth to more than 100 calves as part of a nationwide captive breeding program; more than 200,000 bison now exist and are protected in their natural environment in Yellowstone National Park.
Bison are an American success story. More than 100 years ago, 30-60 million roamed the North American prairie. When railroads were built across the prairie, travelers would shoot the bison for sport, food and skins. This decimation also deprived the Plains Indians of their primary food source. However, the conservation efforts reinstated and protected the American bison and preserved one of our nation’s historic animals.
Read more about Golden Gate Park’s Bison Paddock.