Beardsley Zoo Home to Two New American Bison

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is the new home for two new majestic American bison (Bison bison). The two are a mother and daughter from Roer’s Zoofari in Virginia. Clara, six years old, is the mother of one year old Eleanor. 

The American bison are one of the country’s greatest conservation successes, much like the other iconic American species, the bald eagle. Once numbering in the millions, bison were reduced to only a few hundred individuals by the late 1800s due to habitat destruction and hunting. A breeding program at the Bronx Zoo begun in 1905 established enough bison to form a small herd by 1913. Today, bison live in all 50 states.

Zoo Director Gregg Dancho said, “Bison have had a place at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo for many years. Our last two bison,  Dakota and Sweetpea, were a beloved pair that passed away from extreme old age in the past few years. We’re happy to welcome back this iconic American species.”

Clara and Eleanor join other new arrivals at the Zoo: Dexter cows Bridie and Moo Moo Rose, and Black and Gold Howler monkeys Ella and Lina. 

Arrival video:

About Bison

Bison are a very large species of wild cattle. As North America’s largest land animal, males stand up to six feet at the shoulders and weigh up to 2,000 pounds, and females reach a height of four to five feet and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. At maturity, bison grow long dark hair over their heads, shoulders, and forelegs. Both males and females have horns up to two feet long that are never shed. They are usually slow moving but can run up to 40 miles per hour. They are sometimes incorrectly called buffalo, or American buffalo, due to their similarity to Asian and African water buffalo. 

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 99th year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves. Other highlights include our new Spider Monkey Habitat, the Rainforest Building, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can ride on the carousel, grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization approaching its 100th year at a time when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and eco-systems is more important than ever. 

Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at In accordance with the state of Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines: we recommend that guests continue to wear masks while visiting the Zoo, but when guests are outside and are able to maintain social distance, masks may be removed. In any indoor area, or when social distancing cannot be maintained, masks are required. Everyone over the age of two, with the exception of those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them, should have a mask available.