COURT HOUSE - The Cape May County Zoo announced the arrival of "Beverly," a 2-year-old female American bison, who joins the herd consisting of males "Hank," "Velcro" and "Bart" and females "Sandy" and "Buttons."
According to a county release, Beverly, who came to the county zoo from a herd in North Carolina, was born at Six Flags Great Adventure. Associate Veterinarian Alex Ernst reported the arrival of 'Beverly" and added, "Help us welcome this Jersey Girl back to New Jersey and come visit Beverly and the rest of the American Bison, at North American Prairie habitat, at the Cape May County Zoo.
"We are excited to add to our bison herd and welcome Beverly to Cape May County. Bison are protected, with only a few thousand left, living in national parks and zoos. Our zoo has been participating in conservation efforts and working to help protect these mammals and grow the herd for future generations to see," stated County Commissioner E. Marie Hayes, liaison to the park and zoo.
Bison are the largest mammal in North America. Male bison, called bulls, weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand 6 feet tall, while females, called cows, weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach a height of 4-5 feet. Bison calves weigh 30–70 pounds at birth. Bison can live up to 20 years old; however, the average lifespan is 10 to 20 years.
Cows begin breeding at the age of 2 and only have one baby at a time. Bulls' prime breeding age is 6–10 years. Bison primarily eat grasses, weeds and leafy plants, foraging for 9–11 hours a day.
While they are large animals, they are also fast and can run up to 35 miles per hour. They are extremely agile and can spin around quickly, jump high fences, and are strong swimmers.
President Barack Obama May 9, 2016, signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, officially making the American bison the national mammal of the U.S. This majestic animal joins the ranks of the bald eagle as the official symbol of our country, and, much like the eagle, it's one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time.
For more information about the American Bison go to nps.gov/articles/15-facts-about-bison.htm.