One of the most famous of these creatures was a bull bison given up by Barnum & Bailey Circus named Black Diamond.
Black Diamond, born in 1893, was known for being very calm.
That may be why artist James Earle Fraser used Black Diamond supposedly used him as his model when he was given the plum assignment of designing the buffalo nickel.
There’s some confusion about it, but Fraser himself said Black Diamond, at six feet tall and about 2,000 pounds, was the one.
[Above: not Black Diamond, but another bull bison at the Central Park Menagerie in a similar pose]
And what did Black Diamond get for this honor?
In 1915, when he was an old bull whose days were numbered, the menagerie decided to sell him to a slaughterhouse and turn him into buffalo steak.