Zoo adds bison calf, maned wolf to its animal world

The Telegram staff
A six-month old male bison calf is now a resident of the North American Plains area of Lee Richardson Zoo. The calf comes to the zoo from the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and previous resided at the Sandsage Bison Range.

Lee Richardson Zoo has recently welcomed a seven-year-old male maned wolf and a six-month-old male bison calf to the zoo.

“Mateo” has joined resident female maned wolf “Lelah” in the South American Pampas portion of the zoo.  Mateo came to the zoo from the National Zoological Park (Smithsonian Institution) as part of the Maned Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) a cooperatively managed program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSP’s oversee the population management among participating facilities while working to enhance conservation of the species in the wild through a variety of conservation, research, husbandry, management, and educational initiatives.

A seven-year-old maned wolf named "Mateo" is now an exhibit resident of the South American Pampas portion of Lee Richardson Zoo.

“Mateo has been settling into his new home really well. He is confident and curious, and we’re all excited to get to know him better.” Zookeeper Rachel Stepp said. Guests may catch glimpses of Mateo as he is introduced to Lelah and their shared habitat.

Working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, zoo staff welcomed the new bison calf to the North American Plains area of the zoo.  The calf previously resided at the Sandsage Bison Range, south of Garden City.

The calf was not hesitant to remind everyone that while small compared to a two-ton adult male bison, he is still very mighty.  He fiercely charged and stomped his way out of the transport trailer and into his new home, where he quickly calmed down and began investigating his surroundings.  Staff are currently working to safely introduce the calf to the two elk and 15-year-old female bison he will share his new habitat with.

American bison are native to North America and are known to roam in herds of 200 to 2,000 individuals. They were hunted to near extinction in the 1800s but have been making a comeback in recent years with the help of zoos, sanctuaries, and parks that are home to bison herds. There are currently over 11,000 bison in the wild population.