Bison's broken horn postpones arrival at Elgin zoo
Arrival of two new residents to Lords Park Zoo's bison pen in Elgin has been postponed a month or two because one of them has a broken horn.
Drew, one of the 13-year-old bison scheduled for delivery last Wednesday, broke part of her horn off before she was loaded onto a trailer for the trip to Elgin, said Sondra Katzen, a spokeswoman for Brookfield Zoo.
It's not known how she broke her horn, but zoo officials didn't want to drive her, or her herd mate Becky, also 13, until Drew's horn was completely healed — likely the end of January or early February.
"Drew has had a droopy horn for many years," said Joan Daniels, associate curator of mammals at Brookfield Zoo. "We just decided to delay it to give him some time for that to heal up a bit and she's fine, she's absolutely fine."
Drew and Becky, named after a retired Brookfield Zoo keeper named Ron Zdrubecky, will join Pokey, a 21-year-old female bison who has been roaming Lords Park Zoo all alone for 1Ĺ years. Her longtime companions, Cahoya, 24, and Dakota, 18, died in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
Once the delivery is made, the Elgin zoo, which has a new, $55,000 bison pen, will finally have a full compliment of bison. All three are females.
"We want to make sure that we do it right, too," said Jim Bell, public works superintendent. "We wanted to make sure we had a good solid facility for both of them to come into and have something that was presentable to the public and safe for the animals as well."
Brookfield Zoo is donating the animals at no cost to Elgin because the zoo had some extra bison to spare from its own herd, Daniels said.
"We are just really pleased to have a facility close by like Lords Park," Daniels said. "They've had a long history with bison there."
Drew and Becky have been at Brookfield Zoo since 1999, but shouldn't feel too far away from home because Elgin's new bison pen mirrors the one at Brookfield Zoo, Bell said.
Typically, in herds, a male bison is surrounded by many females, but in a zoo setting, it's fine to have all women, Daniels said.
Bell will approach Elgin about having a welcoming ceremony for the bison, once the animals are settled in. The bison would join the deer and elk already at the zoo and will be on display all year long.
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