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Zoo Buddy: Meet this ‘living bulldozer’!

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 8:38 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Meet Tatanka! He’s an American Bison at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo and Lisa Taylor with the zoo calls him a ‘living bulldozer’.

“They will they get up to about 2,200 pounds with them weighing that much they will knock you real far, real quick,” says zookeeper Chris Norred. “They hit about 35 mph.”

“A lot of people don’t think about it, but even with their size they are incredibly agile, that’s the reason for the shape of their legs as well as that body mass,” explains Norred. “They use all of that body mass for momentum to go forward but also to thrust however they need. They can turn around 180 almost instantaneously.”

Norred says often people confuse American Buffalo and American Bison, but he says bison are their own genus, bison bison.

“Most of the bison nowadays are actually going to be interbred with a lot of different native cattle, stuff like that, the only pure lineage of ancient bison is actually going to be found at Yellowstone,” explains Norred. “Yellowstone has one of the largest populations as well of bison, that is because of course it is protected by quite a few acts. One of the societies that was founded by Theodore Roosevelt, I believe it was in 1904, The American Bison Society is actually one of the ones that’s in charge of protecting the species.”

And he says you should keep an eye on their tail if you’re nearby one in the wild.

“If that tail is up you better not be anywhere near, if it is going kind of like a dog, wagging and whatnot, it’s usually gonna be they’re in a playful mood, they’re a bit excited,” explains Norred.

You can meet Tatanka in the zoo’s Louisiana Purchase exhibit.

The zoo is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day of the week and their new budgie exhibit is open now! The train and boat rides are also going. The zoo is located at 1405 Bernstein Park Road in Monroe. You can call them at (318) 329-2138.

Boo at the Zoo 2021

Mark your calendars for Boo at the Zoo on Oct. 30, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.! They’ll have trick-or-treating, a costume contest, food, and vendors. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for kids ages two and older. The zoo says proceeds from the event will be used to bring a sloth enclosure to the zoo.

If you want to be a vendor for the event fill out this form, and if your group wants to give out candy for kids fill out this form.

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