Vilas Zoo euthanizes one of world’s oldest bison, right before his birthday

The Henry Vilas Zoo euthanized Beefcake the Bison two days before his 25th birthday.
The Henry Vilas Zoo euthanized Beefcake the Bison two days before his 25th birthday.(Henry Vilas Zoo via Facebook)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 4:03 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - One of the world’s oldest bison was euthanized this week at the Henry Vilas Zoo after its health took a sharp turn for the worse, zoo officials announced on Wednesday.

The decision to put the bison Beefcake down on Tuesday came after he had trouble standing that day, the zoo explained, adding that he had been suffering from a variety of age-related issues.

Beefcake’s death came just two days before he would have celebrated his 25th birthday. According to the zoo, staff were already prepping for a party, complete with a cake filled with his favorite treats. He was even going to get more treats for a video that was going to showcase how the zoo cares for its bison.

“We still wanted to share how our keepers take care of these iconic animals. Beefcake was an amazing ambassador for his wild counterparts and will be truly missed,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. The post included a video of one of its zookeepers, Lauren, explaining how they care for their bison herd.

The zoo explained that staff members had been closely monitoring Beefcake’s health for months. They noted how, in addition to the ailments that come with age, older animals face greater risks of getting injured, meaning zookeepers need to keep a close eye on diet or behavior changes.

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