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In a home where the buffalo still roam, lived a feisty bison who often was first to the feeding trough.

Named “Here Comes Trouble,” or simply “Trouble” for short, the 35-year-old, 2,000-pound bison lived her entire life at William S. Hart Regional Park in Newhall in a large enclosure with other bison until she died of old age on Sunday, Sept. 10, park officials reported.

On Friday, Sept. 15, park officials reminisced about “Trouble,” saying she earned her nickname early on in life when the park rangers would come with the truck pitching hay into feeding bins and she’d charge the truck, often elbowing her way to the front of the line.

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Park officials said she was beloved by park visitors and staff members alike, who often said “Here comes Trouble” when they saw her approaching.

William S. Hart Park in Newhall. Photo: Google Earth
William S. Hart Park in Newhall. Photo: Google Earth

“She was one of the feistier ones. She had a fighting spirit,” remembered Rachel Komulainen, park animal keeper who has been on the job for more than 10 years. “She would challenge the truck when we throw the hay into the feeders in the morning. She would get into a squabble with the other bison.”

Komulainen said “Trouble” mellowed in her later years. A bison or buffalo living 35 years in captivity is extremely unusual. These animals live about 15 years, and about 25 years tops in captivity, she said.

The park’s animal keeper surmised the recent spate of hotter, humid weather may have taken its toll on the beefy, elderly bison.

“She was well taken care of and loved. She died of old age. There was no trauma,” Komulainen said. She noticed the animal was missing from the herd on the morning of Sept. 10 during feeding time and she found her in another part of the enclosure.

Since the large enclosure is encircled by a walking trail, the public can get an eyeful of the 11 bison, now 10, that live at the Newhall park, a county park with other wild animals, including an emu.

Trouble was born at Hart Park on April 12, 1988. She earned a reputation for high-spiritedness as she often picked fights with members of her herd, according to park officials. “Trouble brought a lot of joy to those who crossed her path. Her personality always shone through, and she made both park visitors and staff smile with her antics,” said L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

The bison descendants were a gift from Walt Disney in 1962. As the story goes, he had no place for them after using them in a motion picture.

They are a major attraction at the park. “The bison have always been the people’s favorites. They are the national mammal,” Komulainen noted.

Why do visitors love them?

Komulainen figured they conjure up a days-gone-by feeling of an untamed West, when these animals literally roamed the Great Plains of central North America.

“It is their reminder of that kind of freedom on the plains, of that wild spirit from the past,” she said.

William S. Hart Regional Park, located at 24151 N. Newhall Ave., in Newhall,  is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Admission is free.

The bison herd has been a historical and cultural asset of William S. Hart Park since 1962.

City News Services contributed to this article.


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