DE
17.06.15

Welcome, wood bison babies!

Hellabrunn Zoo celebrates the birth of two wood bison calves. For now, the newborn pair are still small, cuddly and delightful, but soon these cute little babies will acquire an imposing figure, growing up to two metres tall and weighing up to a tonne.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Life in the wood bison's enclosure - shared with prairie dogs - is normally quite leisurely and peaceful. But the tranquil days have come to an end: The arrival of two bison calves has brought new life to the group. The newly born run around together across the enclosure and sniff the little prairie dogs with great curiosity. Naturally this makes splendid entertainment for Hellabrunn Zoo visitors.

Wood bison baby No. 1 is only five days older than baby No. 2. Of course, this makes them ideally suited to be best playmates. And so the little ones, who are only three and four weeks old, romp together to their heart's content, that is, when they are not feeding on their mama's milk or taking a nap.

Both babies are male: Peterle was born on the night of 25 May. His half-brother, who was given the funny name Päuschen, arrived into the world only five days later. The boys' father is the wood bison bull Greenhorn (8 years). On 30 May, keepers on lunch break noticed that the bison cow Gala (9 years) had gone into labour. The birthing process took quite so time, but about 4:30 pm, the second bison calf was born. He was given the name Päuschen (meaning "break" in English). Both calves were given names beginning with the letter "P" as all animals born in Hellabrunn Zoo in 2015 are to have names beginning with "P".

"Wood bison are relatively rare in zoos. We are therefore particularly delighted to welcome the two newborn bison calves," says Zoo director Rasem Baban about the zoo’s two new residents: "Peterle and Päuschen have already doubled their birth weight in their first weeks. They are developing nicely and are very healthy."

The wood bison group at the Munich zoo now comprises six members: the two calves Peterle and Päuschen, their mothers Doro (12 years) and Gala, the bull Greenhorn, and the female bison Kaja (4 years). In the wild, wood bison live in North America, mainly in the northwestern forests of Canada, and feed primarily on herbs, leaves and hay.