New bison fence a gateway to future at Lords Park Zoo
May 25, 2012 10:22AM
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Updated: August 23, 2012 9:51AM
After more than a two-year struggle, and the closure of the zoo farm, the Lords Park Zoo in Elgin has a new bison pen. Thanks to the Friends of Lords Park and a sympathetic Elgin City Council, the funds finally came together to make it happen.
The finishing touches were put on the fencing the end of April with the planting of native foliage gracing its outskirts. It is definitely a beautiful sight to behold.
Although Pokey is the only remaining resident to benefit from it — as Dakota and Cahoya have gone to the big prairie in the sky — the new fencing is strong and sturdy, with a shimmering black finish.
Pokey is shedding her winter coat and seems unaffected by all the work that went into getting her a better habitat in which to roam. She has no idea how close she was to being sent away to other bison preserves in the area to finish out her years. The old fencing was tilted and worn beyond repair.
The Elgin Public Museum offers monthly feeding opportunities to any local Fox Valley resident who wants to sign up. It really is a fun family activity where the history of the bison is taught, along with a walk down to the zoo, where awaiting staff assist all who care to in the morning feeding of the deer, elk and the majestic Pokey, the remaining queen of the bison pen.
If you ever had the opportunity to meet Dakota, he definitely was the king of the bison pen. He always ate first while the two females anxiously awaited their turn to join in. His picture proudly remains on the gate to the zoo. We can only imagine if he really is looking down on his zoo habitat with pleasure. It will remain a place for the buffalo to roam.
Thanks to all the Indian warriors who took up the fight. Visiting the Lords Park bison pen is a fantastic place for Fox Valley to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially this Memorial Day weekend.
Without the persistence of the Friends of the Lords Park Zoo, our bison pen might have been nothing more than pictures in a photo album of memories. Hats off to everyone who took the time to fund-raise the needed money and put up that new fencing. Also, a big round of applause is due to the Elgin City Council for contributing to the cause. All of your hard work will benefit a new generation of Lords Park attendees.
Let’s hope Lords Park, open since 1897, remains standing for another 105 years. It truly is a Fox Valley gem.
Linda McDaniel-Hale is a Sleepy Hollow resident.