"Art is a kind of illness." — Giacomo Puccini

Buffalo in San Francisco?


Buffalo in San FranciscoThere are many interesting and unexpected sights in San Francisco. In fact, the local economy practically depends on starry-eyed visitors coming from around the world to gawk at and photograph our local sights and frights. Our spectacular geography, famous fog, historic and modern architecture, and neighborhood freak shows create a gestalt only approachable in a few other places on the planet. In short, when you come to San Francisco, you get a feeling you’re not in Kansas anymore.

It’s really true. After a while, you walk past the guys in leather chaps…and little else. You practically don’t even see the fancy pet outfits. Perfectly coiffed, exquisitely outfitted elderly twins fade into the background around Union Square. You don’t even question the obvious fact that Speaker Pelosi, Senator Feinstein and Mayor Newsom are entirely too conservative. Basically, it takes something breathtaking and unexpected to grab your attention and make you say, “Holy cow!” And this brings me to my point.

I tell people about this all the time, but they never believe me: There are real live buffalo in San Francisco! Okay, technically, they are the same American Bison, commonly called American Buffalo, that have long been sacred creatures to Native Americans. Growing up in the Midwest, I don’t recall ever seeing one anywhere. Sadly, they no longer freely roam the Great Plains as they did for thousands of years. Whenever I am on the west end of Golden Gate Park, I always take a moment to stop and see these majestic animals. I rarely get a photo clear enough to post, but this time I got lucky.

According to Wikipedia, Bison have been kept in Golden Gate Park since 1891, when a small herd was purchased by the park commission. At the time, the animal’s population in North America had dwindled to an all-time low and San Francisco made a successful effort to breed them in captivity. In 1899, the paddock in the western section of the park was created. The animals today are cared for by staff from the San Francisco Zoo.

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