SALISBURY – The Salisbury Zoo announced last week the passing of its 25-year-old male American Bison, who was humanely euthanized.
He was born on July 12, 1993 at the Oglebay Good Zoo in Wheeling, W.Va. The Salisbury Zoo acquired the male bison at four months old from Oglebay in October of 1993. He sired one female in 2001 who currently resides at the Salisbury Zoo. The Salisbury Zoo has been exhibiting this keystone land mammal for over 50 years and has a long history with American Bison conservation.
Within the last few months, zoo keepers began to notice apparent changes in the bison’s mobility. Zoo keepers addressed the symptoms with medication. But within the past month his health declined rapidly. Staff assessed his quality of life and the decision was made to humanely euthanize him. A post mortem exam is scheduled.
In 2016, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, making the American bison the national mammal of the United States. Bison were plentiful in the early 1800’s but by the late 1800’s there were only a few hundred left in the United States after unregulated shooting and habitat loss occurred during the settlement of the west. With the help of the Department of Interior, the American Bison Society and the New York Zoological Society, the number of American Bison rose in the early 1900’s. Yellowstone National Park’s bison population is estimated at 4,900.