Beloved Bison Endangered by Economy

Bringing new blood into San Francisco's aging herd would cost money amidst massive budget deficits

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Jun 25, 2009  |  Updated 2:00 PM PDT
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Beloved Bison Endangered by Economy

Franco Folini

The bison are back in Golden Gate Park, but for how long?

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It's a sight that never fails to confuse and delight tourists -- a stand of bison in the middle of Golden Gate Park.

While not native to the Bay Area, bison have called San Francisco home for over a century, introduced when the signature American beast was otherwise nearly extinct in its home range along the great plains.

"We are losing that historic herd through old age, and we need to repopulate it," Recreation and Parks Department President Jim Lazarus told the San Francisco Appeal.

One of the elders was euthanized a few months ago.

After being moved to make room for an upgrade to their grazing pasture, the bison are back.

But that renovation cost $1.2 million, and growing the herd by introducing new animals could cost an additional $90,000.

Not much in the grand scheme of things, but perhaps too much amidst a staggering budget deficit with every city department scrambling for pennies.

Leave it to San Francisco to save the buffalo from extinction, only to doom them with death by budget cuts.

Photo by Franco Folini.

Jackson West loves him some buffalo, both live in parks and dead on plates.

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