Walking along John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park, you may run into a few occasional sightings of bison at the paddock. But these historic roaming creatures are becoming harder to spot despite their large size. The original herd living there has dwindled down to a sad five. Yes, five lonely and aged females. Is it time to bring in some company for these old single ladies?

An anonymous donor says yes. This donor wants to increase the size of the bison herd in Golden Gate Park. The Recreation and Park Department said that before any changes are made to the bison population, the paddock needs to make renovations to the corral areas to meet federal standards. A $1.2 million restoration project was already put in place two years ago, but the park would still need more funding for improvements to accommodate a larger herd.

While this pro-bison donor thinks the more the merrier, others are worried about how new bison will affect the welfare of the current ones. Chief Veterinarian Dr. Jacqueline Jencek of the San Francisco Zoo said “bringing in others that are full grown could really hurt our old ladies. They’d have to be younger, kinder and gentler.”

The bison paddock has long been a unique Golden Gate Park attraction. With the first herd brought here in 1891, these bison have made it a quite far along. Whatever happens, a herd – whether of old ladies or breeding youngins – seems to be here to stay.

Photo: Franco Folini

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