A baby bison from the iconic herd in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park has died after an unfortunate encounter with a small dog.
Around 9am on Wednesday morning, SFPD was alerted to an incident at the park's bison paddock. Officers arrived at the scene to find a small dog in the enclosed area where seven young bison were being held and the dog's handler frantically attempting to coax the pooch out. The dog eventually burrowed out of the pen; however, later that day, zookeepers from the San Francisco Zoo, which oversees the bison, checked on the calves and found that a 6-month old female had sustained serious injuries.
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Zookeepers responded and found that one of the small bison had suffered a laceration to its left side and three broken ribs, [zoo spokesperson Lora] LaMarca said.
She said the bison apparently ran into a fence in the enclosure because it was "really upset about the dog that had gotten in there."
The injured bison was immediately taken to the zoo for monitoring, but was subsequently returned to its paddock. Zoo officials reported that the bison died at 5:20 pm that evening.
The dog in question was reported to be a small "toy" breed and was being walked on voice command by a dog walker who was also in charge of four other dogs at the time. The handler, who has yet to be identified, was ticketed for animal disturbance and having off-leash dogs in a designated on-leash area.
The seven young bison are new to Golden Gate Park. They were purchased by the city from a ranch in Redding late last year with the help of Assemblywoman Fiona Ma in an effort to repopulate the gradually dwindling herd that was originally a gift to the city by investment banker Dick Blum in honor of his wife, Senator Diane Feinstein.
Blum again contributed to the herd last year, partially covering the $7,200 price tag for the new bison and spending $50,000 to renovate their increasingly dilapidated facility.
Ma said in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle that she was "disheartened by the unfortunate accident...This is a sad reminder that we must be responsible pet owners at all times--especially when going out to parks where there are children, pets and other animals."
This is the second recent high-profile incident at the San Francisco Zoo. In just the past week, a squirrel monkey named Banana Sam was mysteriously stolen from, and then summarily returned to, the venerable Sunset District institution.
Check out this video the baby bison in their new paddock: