Mexico City’s iconic Chapultepec Zoo on Tuesday (May 26) officially welcomed a new resident to the animal park. A North American bison,more commonly called buffalo, was born on it’s historic grounds.
Mexico City’s iconic Chapultepec Zoo on Tuesday (May 26) officially welcomed a new resident to the animal park. A North American bison, more commonly called buffalo, was born on it’s historic grounds.
The park’s female bison gave birth to a female hoofed calf after a nine month gestation period. The little wonder is the first species of its kind to be born at the site since 1992.
Unfazed by the attention from eager onlookers, the adorable calf made it’s zoo debut.
The prized American buffalo is a rare site for the crowds in Mexico City, the majestic creature is normally found in the United States, Canada and in northern border regions of Mexico.
“It’s a very important birth for Chapultepec Zoo. Twenty-three years have passed since we had the birth a bison. In fact, the father was the last birth we had at the zoo. This bison was born in perfect health. The baby weighs around 50 kilograms (110 pounds),” said the Director of Mexico City’s zoo, Juan Arturo Rivera.
The public has been invited to select a name for the bison. The options include Umi, which means life, Shappa which translates as Red Lightning and Tayen, meaning New Moon. The three names are Native American, officials from Mexico City’s government said.
Rivera said the birth of the bison was important for its conservation. The creatures were hunted to the brink of extinction by American settlers in the 19th century for sport or to make room for railroads, farms and ranches.
In Mexico, numbers of bison are limited.
“There are currently 80-130 bisons in the wild in our country and therefore the birth of this species is important from the conversation point of view. We must remember this species – within official norms in our country – is in danger of extinction.”
Mexico City’s Chapultepec Zoo was inaugurated in 1924 and is considered one of the best in Latin America. It has more than 2,000 animals and more than 200 species on display. It is free of charge and receives about 5.5 to 8 million visitors annually.
Bison at Rancho Uno
Mexico Living and Vacations
Just north of Chihuahua City you will find a huge herd of buffalo. You will see them near the highway between Chihuahua City and Juarez.
North of the Copper Canyon area the Chihuahuan Desert stretches for miles and miles up into the US. Near the town of Janos, The Nature Conservancy runs a 40,000 acre place called Rancho Uno. This place is quiet, vast, captivating and our Authentic Copper Canyon groups are beginning to use this place as a first stop. The is a vast array of grasses, birds of all kinds- and it is all surrounded by mountains- an incredible environment for bird watching, relaxing and hiking.
Take a look at this video I recently shot with Juan Luis, the manager of the herd.
Words cannot catch the peace and wonder of this place as evening gathered in and the buffalo grazed.
ANOS, Chihuahua — The wild bison herd standing in the golden grass look like they stepped out of a painting of the old west.
But this is northern Mexico, and these bison are part of modern day effort to restore native grasslands.
There s one of the males, said Jose Luis Garcia Loya, pointing to one of the largest animals. Je runs Rancho El Uno, an ecological reserve about 80 miles south of the border.
The enormous male, officially known as 17, has been nicknamed Big Show by Loya s 14-year-old son. The majestic animals, also called buffalo, once roamed North America by the millions. Their vast territory stretched into northern Mexico before they were hunted to near extinction in the 1800s.
Now, the U.S. and Mexico have teamed up to bring wild bison back. Nearly 46,000 acres at Rancho El Uno is part of ambitious plan by the Nature Conservancy to restore grasslands destroyed by overgrazing.
The Nature Conservancy also has wild bison in the United States in South Dakota, Missouri and Iowa. However, the herd in Janos did not migrate across the prairie. Instead, it started with 23 animals that were trucked across the border from South Dakota in 2010.
This was once bison territory, Garcia Loya said as he looked through binoculars at the bison walking through the grass.
Unlike cattle, which stay and feed to the root, bison eat and roam, leaving some of the plant intact. Their heavy step breaks up the soil and helps grass seeds grow.
A three year study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, found restoring wild bison to their historic range would benefit the land in the Canada, the United States and Mexico.
The grass used to be tall, said local rancher Angel Martinez, 67, while describing the Janos areawhen he was a boy. But too much cattle, overgrazing, left it all ugly.
To rescue native grasslands, Mexico’s conservationists had to win over skeptical cattle ranchers in the region. El Uno opened its doors to ranchers in the area and invited everyone in the town to celebrate the bison release.
“At first we questioned why those crazy people brought the bison back”, said Manuel Yanez, a local rancher who couldn’t keep from laughing.
But as they start to see results, Yanez and his father-in-law Martinez joined a group of ranchers who adopted sustainable grazing practices. They now raise smaller herds. And once the pasture recovered, they no longer had to truck in alfalfa which was expensive during the drought.
Mexico s president declared the 1.3 million acres surrounding Rancho El Uno a federally protected area named the Janos Biosphere Reserve.
Students in the area have started their own ecological clubs after a field trip to see the bison.
“Something you don t see every day”, said Jessica Garcia, a 14-year-old a student who belongs to one of the clubs. It s very cool.
“There are very few. We have to take care of them”, said 11-year-old Viridiana Briseno.
And the herd is growing. Nearly three years after the original 23 bison arrived in Mexico, the herd has increased to 37 bison.
Come Uno! Garcia Loya calls out his favorite bison. Her name is Uno because she is the first wild bison born at the ecological reserve.
Now there s hope she s pregnant and will give birth this spring and continue the centuries old bloodline behind a modern day conservation effort.
Garcia Loya said “many of the females in the will herd will probably become mothers”.
“I m pleased with what we’ve been able to achieve”, Garcia Loya said.