San Francisco, (July 16, 2020) – For the first time, fans of Golden Gate Park’s resident bison can connect with the beloved beasts from home, thanks to two live webcams in their paddock.
The bison cams offer a rare opportunity to observe the all-female herd as five longtime residents—Betsy, Bailey, Bellatrix, Buttercup, and Bambi—get to know their five young roommates, 1-year-olds acquired in March in honor of Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary.
The bison cams can be viewed on Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary website with their own webpage -- GoldenGatePark150.com/bison -- where visitors of all ages can also explore the history of bison in the park and enjoy fun learning activities, listen to podcasts and watch videos about the bison. Visitors will also be able to enjoy Golden Gate Park’s other webcams, including penguins, stingrays, coral reef and other sea life at the California Academy of Sciences.
“The bison paddock is one of the favorite destinations in the park and now we can open this amazing experience up to animal lovers regardless of location,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. “It’s truly amazing to watch the beautiful youngsters interact with the established herd and enjoy their home in Golden Gate Park.”
The social herbivores can be seen grazing together, wallowing in the dirt, or, like many a Golden Gate Park visitor, simply enjoying a stroll or a rest on the grass.
The five yearlings that arrived earlier in the year were the first new bison added to the paddock in eight years, bringing the total number of bison in the paddock to 10 females. The bison were purchased through a $50,000 donation to the San Francisco Zoological Society by Richard Blum, philanthropist, investment banker, and husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Among the youngsters is Sesqui, a bison named for the park’s sesquicentennial and who sports an ear tag number of 150.
The bison herd is cared for by staff from the San Francisco Zoo, while Recreation and Parks Department gardeners maintain the enclosure. An emblem of the American west, bison had been driven nearly to extinction by the time Golden Gate Park’s herd was established. These huge, shaggy Great Plains denizens have been a beloved institution in the park since 1892. The herd’s first home was in the park’s eastern end, near where the Music Concourse now stands, but in 1899 they were moved to the Bison Paddock, the meadow where they live today, just west of Spreckels Lake along John F. Kennedy Drive.
“Bison have been part of Golden Gate Park for more than a century and they help connect us to our storied past and represent our exciting future,” said Drew Becher, CEO, San Francisco Parks Alliance. “We are always looking for more ways to connect the park with people and these webcams are an exciting way to engage visitors in an important part of our history.”
2020 marks the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park. The yearlong celebration is being organized by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance and brings together more than 150 community partners to honor Golden Gate Park and its past, present and future. Learn more at GoldenGatePark150.com.
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