Riverside Discovery Center says goodbye to Doc the bison

Riverside Discovery Center says goodbye to Doc the bison
Doc, one of three American Bison at the Riverside Discovery Center (courtesy photo)
May 13th, 2024 | News Release

Riverside Discovery Center last week said goodbye to a longtime resident, our male American Bison,

Doc had been under additional veterinary care for several months after exhibiting signs of arthritis related to his advanced age. On Friday, May 10th, Doc’s keepers, in consultation with the zoo veterinarian, made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the nearly 22-year-old Bison.

Doc was born at the Pueblo Zoo in Colorado on May 21, 2002. He arrived at the Riverside Zoo on May 30, 2003 at just over a year old. He joined our male bison Oaph at the time. In 2018, the zoo acquired two young female bison to be herd companions for Doc. Makani and Chinook can still be seen on exhibit at the zoo.

Michael Gillen, Animal Curator remembers Doc’s arrival 21 years ago. Michael stated, “He was so small when he arrived. He hadn’t developed the impressive horns he had at maturity. Doc was a gentle giant. When Makani and Chinook arrived, he took to them right away. He would stay in the shift door until they went through so that they would not get left behind. It has truly been an honor to work with him over the last 20 years.” Michael had the fortunate opportunity to name Doc. He was named after Doc Holliday.

Staff will continue to monitor Makani and Chinook with Doc’s passing. We truly appreciate the care and support of the community. Saying goodbye to one of the animals is one of the most difficult parts of providing care for such amazing species.

Beginning in the early 20th century, Plains Bison herds, an American Bison subspecies, were established in an effort to save the animals from extinction. The effort that began over 100 years ago to save the Plains Bison is one of the most successful stories in conservation.


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