Herd the news? National Zoo welcomes 2 new bison

The Smithsonian National Zoo introduced two juvenile female American bison — “Gally,”(left) named by Gallaudet University students, and “Lucy,” (right) named by Howard University students. (Courtesy Smithsonian National Zoo/Roshan Patel)

Meet Gally and Lucy.

The pair of young female American bison joined the Smithsonian’s National Zoo living collection.

“American Bison have a rich history with the Zoo since our founder, William Temple Hornaday, envisioned a national zoo where vanishing species would thrive, starting with the bison,” Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, said in a news release.

“Connecting the bison with the communities of Howard University and Gallaudet University gives us the opportunity to inspire a younger generation to appreciate this iconic American species and reminds us all that we can save wildlife and their habitats.”

Gally was named by Gallaudet University students. Lucy was named by Howard University students. The animals have a connection to both schools, which use the bison as their mascots.

“Gallaudet is once again honored to be joining forces with Howard University and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to welcome two new American bison to the Washington, D.C., area,” Roberta J. Cordano, president of Gallaudet University, said.

Howard University chose the name Lucy to honor Lucy Diggs Slowe, the first Dean of Women at Howard University and the first Black woman to hold a position at any university in the U.S.

Slowe was a tennis champion and the first Black woman to win a major sports title.

“Dean Lucy Diggs Slowe was a remarkable woman, and we’re happy that her legacy and memory will be shared with every visitor interested in learning about the strength of the mighty bison,” Howard University President Wayne Frederick said.

Lucy and Gally are both about a year old and came to the zoo from the American Prairie Reserve in northeastern Montana.

Each weighs about 200 pounds for now; at full maturity, the zoo said female bison can weigh up to 1,100 pounds.

While the public won’t be able to see the bison until the zoo reopens due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are encouraged to learn more about the creatures on the zoo’s website.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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