Last Cow, the grande dame of Golden Gate Park's internationally-famous herd of bison, passed on Monday. She was 22.
American bison were first brought to Golden Gate Park in February, 1891 by the Park Commission, in an effort to stave off what was then considered their imminent extinction. Over the years, the herd gave birth to more than 100 calves as part of a nationwide captive breeding program. Overall, the species has since bounced back, with more than more than 4000 bison living in Yellowstone National Park alone.
Last Cow was said to be descended from a pair of the bison given to then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein by her husband Richard Blum in 1984. She (Last Cow, not Feinstein) is survived by six other six-year-old bison who were brought to the park to "enhance" the aging herd in 2011.
According to the SF Zoo, which cares for the Golden Gate Park bison, Last Cow's health had been monitored for several months "due to her advanced age."
"We take special care to accommodate the needs of our geriatric animals," SF Zoo Chief Vet Graham Crawford said in a statement.
"Her longevity can be attributed to the great care provided by her animal care staff."
Meanwhile, Last Cow's mourners took to Facebook to bid her farewell, with one saying "You'll be scaring away dog walkers in heaven now." Another wished her freedom in the afterlife, writing "Onward to wide open prairies."