Skip to comments.Hershey Park Bison Shot to Spare Drowning (Pennsylvania)
Posted on 09/09/2011 12:02:24 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner
Two bison trapped at a Pennsyvania zoo were shot to spare them from drowning in rapidly rising floodwaters.
Officials at Hersheypark's ZooAmerica defended the decision as the most humane choice, though critics blasted it. The one-ton animals were trapped in their pen as waters surged from Tropical Storm Lee. Zookeepers could not evacuate them, though they managed to save other animals.
"Unfortunately, no one could anticipate a weather event that went from inches of rain to feet of flooding in a matter of a few short minutes," the zoo said in its statement. "Faced with the prospect of watching the extended suffering of the bison and their eventual death due to drowning, the zoo staff chose the most humane path possible and euthanized the bison."
(Excerpt) Read more at nbcphiladelphia.com ...
Open gates, release bison?
Very sad. I always assumed there was an exit plan for zoo animals in cases of emergency.
Better that they were shot than to have drowned.
You would think, especially since they are good swimmers.
One word: liability.
So, out of hundreds of animals, they saved all but two?
I would think that’s pretty good, considering it was a flash flood.
Having made the unpleasant choice to “put down” animals I am attached to, I doubt this was something they wanted to do, but felt compelled to do to prevent the bison from suffering.
Swimming in flood waters, isn’t like swimming in a pretty pond, or lazy river.
Or toss something into the enclosure upon which the bison could climb and stand? Then pump it out as soon as possible.
Doesn’t seem to specify what happened to other animals. Maybe they figured getting new bison was cheaper than trying to get the old bison out of danger, while that wouldn’t apply to more exotic beasts like zebras. They really needed a cowboy, literally.
Doesn’t seem to specify what happened to other animals — well, all the other animals, at least. Maybe some perished in the waters.
“We had a plan and we put it in effect, but the circumstances were beyond anything that we had ever seen,” said Mindy Bianca, public relations director for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co.
She said all the zoo’s other animals were accounted for.”
Well I hope they were all accounted for alive. Tropical birds might not care for this kind of weather.
Bison can’t swim?
Stupid zoo keepers..............
I’m glad the bison at South Park here in Pittsburgh are way up at the top of a hill
If they had simply roped them and kept their heads above water for a while, maybe they’d have made it.
They would have died of exhaustion if they’d been forced to swim constantly to stay above water.
I would think the above would have been worth a shot, at least.
I’ve seen horse/cow/deer rescues that involved simply keeping their heads above water [or mud] until they could be extracted work.
I'm guessing the problem was the pen they were in had little or no drainage-- a p*ss poor design from the get go. It looks to me like they are in a giant bowl-shaped pen, a fairly common zoo design since these beasts are capable of jumping or trampling down all but the highest and strongest fences. But they require drainage-- even if it is a culvert going outside the bowl.
For whatever reason, possibly fear of some doofus trying to crawl into the culvert to get a closer look, they failed to follow proper design protocol and created a flooding death trap for the bison.
They would have at least had a fighting chance.
They could have opened a hole in the fence and let them roam until the flood was over. They could have found their own high ground and probably would have survived......
Poor Bison,, NEVER get a freakin’ break. Always betting the short end of the stick.
I vote for opening the gate. Lets ‘em takes they chances. Maybe they make it,, maybe no.
They could have found their own high ground and probably would have survived......
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Sort of like Vietnam.
“We had to destroy the village to save it”.
Typical ‘bureaucratic’ logic (or lack of).
Probably but I reckon it was just “too much trouble”.
There’s a bison farm near here and having relied on humans for so long, they’re not like their potentially dangerous “wild” kin at all.
They’re pretty much just big, fat lazy ol’ glorified cows.
The zoo will no doubt replace them cheaply and that will be that.
I looked up their website:
:Do you walk or drive through the zoo?
:ZooAmerica is an 11-acre walk thru Wildlife Park.
The whole walk takes an *hour* so it’s not like they had hundreds of acres of hard-to-find critters in luxurious native habits or anything.
Their “zoo” is roughly the size of my dad’s planted deer field.
I can stand up by the cabin and see every inch of it, from one end to the other.
It sounds as though they had several small “sections” that were little more than pens.
To me, this makes it worse.
There were no “exotic” animals such as tropical birds; just native American wildlife in pens.
If I weren’t already boycotting Hershey for moving a lot of their production to Mexico, I would do so, now.
11 acres huh. That would amount to 230 yards on a side if it were square. Not that huge.
Hershey chocolate is OK but boy it’s getting pricey nowadays. I’m shocked how puny a $1 Hershey bar is now.
Aldi’s carries alternative store brands made in Europe which are actually pretty decent, though not quite duplicating the classic American chocolate. They are more subtle.
Liability is a euphemism. The real word is lawyers.
I CAN HAS BUFFALO FAHEETAZ?
I am sure they were very short-staffed because people were trying to protect their homes and cities.
Rescue crews were busy saving humans.
These are animals and shooting them was completely humane.
Complaints are from the ignorant, Monday-morning quarterbacks.
I don’t know the real story I was on the other side of town sitting in traffic for over an hour just to get from University Dr to 322. It started out as a very soggy day and then it went from bad to worse. No one including the surrounding school districts had a clue the water was going to rise like that. There were cars bogged down in water everywhere and entire streets under water.
It is what it is and I’m sure the zoo was not happy to lose two of its animals.
Another poignant bison story.
I only buy Ghiardiellis, now.
The last time I bought Hershey’s Special Dark, I got really sick from it.
It was only then that I learned it had been made in Mexico.
Have you seen their latest trend? They're filling the bars with air bubbles, supposedly to make them light and tasty. Tell me it's not really to cut down on product expenses. They're doing the same thing to Hershey's Kisses.
I hate to see food go to waste.
Bison Brats or Bison Chili, anyone?
Why are you boycotting them? You want them to lose money? U.S. sugar tariffs have resulted in sugar prices so much higher than in the rest of the world that most of the American candy industry and its thousands of jobs have left.
I know. Tariffs are supposed to help. They don't.
That looks more like chocolate than water.
I forgot to mention this place if ever you are in range of the Tetons...Not real expensive either.
Its ‘The’ Brewery in Jackson, WY! Very popular and tasty.
I have an issue with Mexican “sanitary practices”.
There has to be a reason why chocolate that never bothered me before suddenly made me sick as a dog.
All the people who worked the American plants lost their jobs and Mexicans got them.
That bugs me.
If Hershey wants to keep their profit margins high by using cheaper labor, I have the right to not buy their stuff.
If they’d raised the prices and stayed in the US, I’d still be buying their products.
They didn’t and so I’m not.
The Aldi’s brands are excellent. Hershey’s seems like plastic in comparison, these days. Not at all how I remember from when I was a kid.
Didn’t have a plan for flash flooding. The pen had little drainage and was a poor design. Rope them and hold them up. Well aren’t you all geniuses.
Click play and then scroll down to the Flooding in Hershey and Hersheypark videos.
The record flood for Swatara Creek at the Hershey gauge was 16.12 feet in 2006. This flash flood crested at 26.8 feet.
Drainage wasn’t going to save these animals; there was nowhere for the water to escape to and no time to rescue the large, dangerous ones. The area became inaccessible. They couldn’t even get large cleaning crews back to the park and zoo until Saturday.
Last week at ZOOAMERICA, we experienced record-breaking flash floods at portions of our facility. What we experienced here on September 7 was a historically unprecedented volume of water carried by Spring Creek, which normally meanders peacefully through our zoo.
Many of you are familiar with our 11-acre facility. Were home to 200 animals of 60 species, all from North America. Our origins can be traced to 1910, when Milton S. Hershey gradually acquired animals for the education and enjoyment of the community he was building around his chocolate factory. Thats when he opened what was then called Hershey Zoo. We transformed into the ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park in 1978.
Our site experienced flooding during Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and we had a large flood here in 1979. Though Hurricane Agnes took place prior to the redevelopment of ZooAmerica, its effects have always been the bar against which we measured our emergency action plans and exhibit construction.
Based on historic precedent, we felt fully prepared for the forecasted storms that took place last Tuesday and Wednesday. We actually began to implement our flood preparation plan on Monday night. But within a very short span of time last Wednesday afternoon, we experienced heavy downpour and flash flooding. The resulting water heights reached five to six feet higher than they had ever been before. In fact, weve been told that levels were 17 feet above normal. The speed at which this water was moving is almost incomprehensible.
Our staff prepared as they were could not be prepared for this. As evidenced by the toll this storm took on our entire town and the surrounding region, its hard to imagine that anyone could have been.
Throughout the ordeal, however, the staff displayed the dedication to those within their care. We are proud of the actions taken to save the individual animals within exhibits that had never before been evacuated. The valor displayed by individuals going into chest-high water to relocate animals is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of our Zoo team.
As a result, the staff saved the entire collection, with the exception of two bison and some of our prairie dogs.
Our bison exhibit has always maintained a section of dry ground in what until last Wednesday had been the known standard for high water. The crest of this brief but devastating flood was five or six feet higher than that mark. One animal drowned; the other tumbled through the current and was euthanized to reduce suffering.
At this point we have all the resources, animal food and staffing that we need. We were able to support all of the animals in our back-of-house holding areas, and many of them have already returned to their regular homes. Weve been busy fixing the physical damage and plan to reopen on Saturday. And with a new historical precedent now set, we will revise our plans and facilities.
We share your concern for the welfare of the animals in our care and, like you, mourn the loss of these members of our Zoo family.
The above is an email I received from Hershey after I sent a complaint about the Bison.