Want to name the new bison at Lords Park Zoo in Elgin?
Lords Park purchased the bison calf last fall, and the new bison is nearing her first birthday. She is regularly grazing now in the primary bison enclosure with adopted bison mother Drew and fellow bison Becky.
While “Drew” and “Becky” are wonderful names, zoo officials are going in a slightly different direction for the new addition, choosing names that honor Native American culture.
The six names and their meanings are:
- Enapay — brave (from Sioux)
- Halona — happy fortune (from Creek)
- Kachina — life spirit (from Hopi)
- Leotie — prairie flower (from Cherokee);
- Onida — awaited one (from Oneida)
- Takoda — friend to all (from Dakota)
Click here to take the poll. Paper ballots will be available at the Elgin Public Museum on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
About the Zoo
Located on Elgin’s east side, at the south end of Lords Park, the zoo has had a long history and has undergone many changes. Presently, the fence- in outdoor area includes Buffalo, Elk and White Tail Deer, which can be seen all year long. During the summer, the farm zoo will open to provide visitors with the opportunity to view farm animals rented from local farms. This is not a petting zoo.
The zoo began in 1895 with the construction of a den to house two donated black bears, Jack and Juno. Both were tame and playful, and Davy Walker, the animal trainer, was wrestling with Jack.
Before long he had trained the bears to welcome him into their cage by standing on their hind legs and kissing him on the cheek. The bears took apples from his hands and grapes from between his teeth. Children delighted in watching a bear run away with Walkers’ food basket while he was lining them up at feeding time.
By 1905, when the first four bison arrived, the menagerie included five bears, two elk, 17 deer, eight coyotes, four foxes, three monkeys, a raccoon, a wildcat, 10 peacocks and six eagles.
It wasn’t until the arrival in 1964 of a year-old lion, named “Lord Spark” in a contest, that complaints arose about the zoo. The cages had deteriorated, were difficult to keep clean, and provided inadequate protection for both animals and visitors. The Lords Park caged collection had dwindled to four bears, a deodorized skunk, a fox, a few raccoons, and the lion. The city council decided to keep the bison, deer, elk and domestic animals and concentrate on a children’s farm zoo. Lord Spark found a new home at Brookfield Zoo.
In 1969, the caged area was filled and graded to the level of the creek. The summertime goats, calves, llamas, pigs and rabbits were a welcome addition to the zoo.
SOURCE: Elgin Parks & Recreation website, Lords Park Facebook Page