Bison on Catalina Island celebrated on National Bison Day
Catalina Island abounds with fascinating animals. Curious Island foxes, playful sea lions and leaping dolphins enthrall residents and visitors alike, and dozens of other interesting species soar, skitter and swim around Santa Catalina. Several of those species have national and statewide significance, including the state’s marine fish, the garibaldi; the national bird, the American bald eagle; and the national mammal, the North American bison.
The bison, Catalina Island’s largest resident land mammal, has only been here for about a hundred years. Brought over for a movie shoot and left to its own devices, the Catalina Island bison herd can be found roaming the interior of the island, where they are regularly spotted by hikers and other explorers. Seeing America’s national mammal is one of the highlights of the East End Adventure and the Jeep Eco-Tour.
The Catalina Island Conservancy and the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce have come together to honor this island icon as part of National Bison Day, the first Saturday in November. An Instagram photo contest, using the hashtag #CatalinaBison, will offer a number of prizes in half a dozen categories, including Most Humorous, Most Creative and Best Use of Natural Landscape. Check out the Catalina Island chamber’s website for details and complete rules. One of the most important rules – whether you are taking part in the contest or not – is to remember that the bison are wild animals that are very capable of doing significant damage. Taking a selfie with a #CatalinaBison is something that can lead to a selfie in the emergency room.
If you prefer your wildlife encounters a little more tame, seek out the bison in Avalon, including bison burgers, bison statues and Catalina’s official cocktail, the Buffalo Milk.