28 January 2014

Tatanka, a new baby bison is now on public display at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

The female calf was born on 29 December to first-time mum Leotie and staff are delighted with their progress.

Tatanka is feeding well and Leotie is a wonderful mum. 

Bison are incredibly protective of their young and Leotie is keeping a very close eye on her calf.

Bison calves weigh approximately 25kg at birth and are born with a rich orange coat.

At two months of age their coat begins to darken to deep brown and they also develop their hump and horns.

While females are much smaller than males, when fully grown Tatanka could weigh as much as 450kg.

Tatanka was named by her Keepers and her name means ‘bull or buffalo’ in the Lakota language.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is home to nine American Bison, including Tatanka.

Millions of Bison once roamed the American plains from northern Mexico to Alaska, but they were hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s.

Today Bison are classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as Near Threatened and wild herds occupy less than 1% of their original range.

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