The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is sad to report the passing of 17-year-old female American bison, Ginger on Saturday, November 3, 2018.
Caretakers noted Ginger demonstrating a diminished appetite and lethargy over the past days. Veterinary teams administered hydrated fluids and other treatments that ultimately proved unsuccessful leading to the difficult but necessary decision to euthanize.
Ginger arrived at the OKC Zoo from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas in 2001. She was well known for her mellow disposition and love of browse leaves. In early 2018, a video showing Ginger frolicking through the snow received national attention, shared by media including ABC News, CBS News and others. The OKC Zoo is also home to American bison, Mary Ann, 17.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the American bison as “near threatened” with a wild population of 11,000 to 13,000. Iconic in the Sooner State, the bison is North America's heaviest land animal, weighing between 900 and 2,100 pounds and reaching up to 6 feet tall. The bovine mammal has a shaggy, dark-brown coat and a large head and forequarters. The National Bison Legacy Act, signed into law in May 2016, officially declared the North American bison the U.S. national mammal.
National Geographic reports the average life expectancy for bison is 12 to 20 years.
Photo credit: Brian Whitsitt