The Minnesota Zoo has a brand new baby official mammal of the United States.
The baby bison (for those of you who missed the news earlier this week about its new status) is the first one born at the Apple Valley zoo in 2016, and the 43rd to ever be born at the zoo, they said in a news release.
The calf is believed to be male, and the herd of nine is expecting more calf births later this year, the zoo says.
In the meantime, here's some video of the new baby bison:
And a few photos too:
Bison were almost hunted to extinction
Bison were once the largest and most abundant animals in North America, according to the release, with an estimated 30-60 million roaming the plains before European settlement. They were hunted nearly to extinction in the late 19th century – less than 1,000 bison remained in the U.S at that time. The last wild bison observed in Minnesota was in Norman County in 1880.
After a national effort to revive the species during the 20th century, there are an estimated 500,000 bison in the U.S. today. However, the Associated Press says most of those have been crossbred with cattle, making then semi-domesticated. The news service reports there are about 30,000 truly wild bison in the country, with the largest population in Yellowstone National Park.
Minnesota has its own special bison population in Blue Mounds State Park. They are a rare kind that show no genetic evidence of breeding with cattle. Last year, 11 of those genetically-rare bison were moved to Minneopa State Park near Mankato to help expand the Minnesota conservation herd.
Bison Fun Facts
- Bison eat about 15 pounds of grass and sedges per day.
- They grunt periodically to communicate and keep contact with the rest of their herd.
- They also bellow aggressively when challenging another animal.
- In the winter, bisons' thick fur helps them survive, and they clear snow by sweeping their massive heads from side to side.