Illinois Mourns: Beloved Bison Dies Naturally at Buffalo Rock State Park in Ottawa


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OTTAWA – In a somber announcement, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources revealed on Wednesday morning that Pebbles, the oldest American bison at Buffalo Rock State Park, has peacefully departed this world. The majestic bison, a cherished icon of the park, succumbed to natural causes on Tuesday afternoon while under the attentive care of park veterinarians.

Pebbles, a true symbol of resilience, was born on April 25, 2005, within the picturesque confines of Buffalo Rock State Park. Over the years, she became a beloved figure, captivating the hearts of countless visitors who frequented this serene oasis managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

As the news of Pebbles’ passing reverberates through the community, the park is left with two remaining bison: Cocoa and her 3-year-old calf, Hope. Hope’s birth on April 28, 2020, came at a time of great uncertainty, coinciding with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to temporary closures of non-essential businesses and services, including Illinois state parks.

Buffalo Rock State Park, situated at 1300 N. 27th Road in Ottawa, offers more than just glimpses of these magnificent creatures. Visitors can indulge in a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to picnicking and e-bike rentals. Additionally, the park provides access to the scenic I & M Canal State Trail, promising an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Pebbles may have left this world, but her legacy lives on in the hearts of all who had the privilege of witnessing her grace and beauty in the idyllic setting of Buffalo Rock State Park.


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