ASHBORO, N.C. (Haley Fowler/Charlotte Observer) - A couple of young bison were let out of a barn during Thanksgiving weekend at the North Carolina Zoo during a rainstorm — but they were far from disappointed.
Staff captured the moment on video and shared it on Facebook on Monday, where bisons Wiley and Annie are seen prancing and bucking through a muddy field like a pair of synchronized swimmers.
“Weather changes will impact how the bison interact with their habitat,” Chris Lasher, an animal management supervisor at the zoo, said. “These two girls had recently been let out of the barn when the video was taken. The cooler temps, the space and soft ground got them energized!”
Lasher told McClatchy news group that Wiley and Annie are new to the zoo and currently in quarantine, which is standard procedure for animals being introduced to new herds.
The zoo’s all-female herd has dwindled in recent years as older members died, he said. But these two will help combat the shrinkage.
Both were orphaned from a large herd at The Wilds, a safari park and conservation center in Ohio. The quarantine period in North Carolina is slated to end in mid-December, Lasher said, at which point Wiley and Annie will join a herd that seems to match their enthusiasm.
Another bison at the zoo made headlines this year with her “happy dance” on the first day of spring.
The American Bison are a “near-threatened” species, according to the N.C. Zoo. They mainly eat plants, weigh roughly 1,000 pounds and run as fast as 40 mph.
Females often are seen living in large herds while their male companions, known as bulls, prefer a more solitary bachelor existence, the zoo says.
Bison are not, however, to be confused with buffalo.
Encyclopedia Britannica suggests taking into account the three H’s when distinguishing between the two: home, hump and horns.
Buffalo are native to southeast Asia and Africa while bison belong to North America and Europe.
Bison also use their head like a plow to scavenge for plants in the snow, according to the encyclopedia. The hump on their shoulders helps them do that.
Their horns are equally different — buffalo have massive horns, sometimes almost six feet long, and bison have shorter, sharper ones.