Last week the Wright Park Zoo got some exciting news, a baby buffalo was born!
"We knew she [the mom] was expecting and due any time," Tony Hornberger, zoo keeper, said, "but it was a surprise when I came to work on Wednesday and saw the baby had been born."
Hornberger estimates that the baby was born sometime between 5 p.m. Tuesday, when the zoo closes, and 7 a.m. Wednesday when he arrived.
"It's exciting," Hornberger added, "it's been awhile since we've had a baby buffalo here."
Miss Daisy, the mother of the baby, did have another calf last year, but she was too young herself to know how to take care of it, and it didn't survive. Luckily this time around, Miss Daisy is older and ready for the responsibilities of motherhood.
"I've seen her nursing several times already," Hornberger said, "she's a great mom, taking care of her baby and the baby is doing great."
Of course, being a new mom, Miss Daisy is very protective of her baby so Hornberger hasn't been able to get close enough to tell if it's a boy or girl yet. Though several other staff members and guests have reported it's a girl.
"Once we know for sure, we'll name the buffalo," Hornberger said, "I think because of the mom's name, a good name would be Daisy Mae, but we'll also welcome suggestions from the public as to what her name should be."
Although the zoo didn't do anything to encourage the mating process of the buffalos, "they don't need any encouragement," joked Hornberger, they are very excited about the newest addition.
"We joined the ZAA, the Zoological Association of America, in 2010," Hornberger sad, "that allows us to partner with other zoo's that belong to the association and trade different animals when we have extra and get new ones here."
Before joining, the zoo tried to avoid the animals reproducing so the zoo wouldn't become overcrowded, now that they have other zoos to work with they hope to have babies more often.
"Brutus, the father, is just an awesome specimen," Hornberger said, "we would love to have several more buffalo like him, and I know other zoos would too, and with ZAA we can make that happen."
Hornberger added that the zoo also hopes to have baby porcupines, emus and other animals in the near future, but none are expecting now.
Come out and see the new baby buffalo seven days a week, the zoo is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday's from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and free to the public.
"Even though the mom is protective of her, guests can see the baby pretty much all the time," Hornberger said, "only when she moves to the shade to cool off is it harder to get a glimpse of the baby."