Zoo News - Posted 16 December 2013
The winner of the 'name our baby bison competition' was Delyce Wharekawa who told us Tatonka is an ancient word for Bison believed to be first used by the American Indian tribe known as the Lakota's or Souix. Other American Indian tribes also began using the word and soon it was the common word for buffalo.
Tatonka was born on 22 October to mother Milena and father Kaiyan, two of the four adult North American bison in the zoo's six-strong herd. Hamilton Zoo is the only NZ zoo to hold and display bison. The bison was hunted heavily during the 19th century, and underwent a drastic decline in population. Numbers have begun to increase again to around 12,000 animals, through a conservation management programme.
Seven-week old Tatonka has quickly put on weight since his birth, and now clocks in at about 60kg – more than twice his birth rate.