Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed the arrival of another spring baby – a Bison calf born in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday 10 November 2009. The male calf named Shilah meaning brother in native American was discovered when Zoo keepers arrived for work on the Tuesday morning. The calf went out on the exhibit with the Bison herd that very same day, to the delight of visitors. “Experienced mother Shashone was not letting Shilah wander too far from her protection, yet he still attracted plenty of attention,” said Zoo keeper, Nick Bourke. Shilah is Shashone’s third calf, she is a very protective mother especially at the early stages of the calf’s life. As Shilah grows he will start to get more independent and begin to explore the exhibit and bond with the other animals in the herd. “Shashone is an important breeding female who has successfully reared three calves at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. This breeding success has contributed greatly to the regional population of the species,” said Nick. “At present Shilah looks similar to a domestic calf, but as he develops he will end up at a similar size to his father, Cherokee-Bob who weighs around 1500kgs.” “Both mum and calf have been bonding well, the calf looks very healthy and has been suckling from Shashone regularly which is great to see.” Bison: the Bison is the largest mammal of the American continents weighing up to 1600kg. The frontal part of the body is overdeveloped giving the Bison its characteristic profile. Bison once roamed from Alaska along the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains southward to north-east Mexico and across almost to the Atlantic. Now they are found in protected areas of Canada and the USA and in Zoos. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located at Dubbo in Central Western NSW. The Zoo is open everyday from 9am – 4pm. For more information about Zoo visit www.taronga.org.au or contact 6881 1400.