NEW YORK (WABC) --Six American bison calves have been born at the Bronx Zoo and four of them are now on exhibit at the zoo's Bison Range.
The calves will help the Bronx Zoo further bison conservation efforts.
The calves were born to a herd of seven females and one male that arrived at the zoo from Ft. Peck, Montana back in November 2016.
The herd was an historic gift from the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes and was significant because the Fort Peck bison are from the Yellowstone National Park bloodline, and are among the few pure bison remaining.
The vast majority of present-day bison have trace amounts of domestic cattle genes, a reflection of past interbreeding efforts when western ranchers tried to create a hardier breed of cattle.
The female bison were already pregnant when they arrived at the zoo and the calves were born in late April.
"These calves will bolster our efforts to expand our breeding program of pure bison," said Dr. Pat Thomas, WCS Vice President/General Curator and Associate Director of the Bronx Zoo. "They will eventually be bred with other pure bison to create new breeding herds in other AZA-accredited zoos, and to provide animals for restoration programs in the American West."
The Bronx Zoo has a long history of facilitating bison conservation projects in the western U.S., and the birth of these calves provides a welcome boost to the zoo's ongoing efforts to establish a herd of pure bison.
(Information from the Wildlife Conservation Society)