They called her Trouble, because she was. But the staff at a unique L.A. park will miss this bison

Three bison are around a trough.
Trouble, the bison on the right, recently died of natural causes. Her name was inspired by her feisty behavior.
(Rachael Komulainen / William S. Hart Regional Park)
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An elderly bison known as Trouble for her feisty behavior recently died, leaving a Santa Clarita park with 10 remaining bison, the descendants of a herd that was gifted to the park by Walt Disney more than 60 years ago.

The bison, one of the oldest of a herd in the L.A. County-run William S. Hart Regional Park, died from natural causes, according to park officials. She earned her name by her ornery behavior with staff and other bison, said Rachael Komulainen, the park’s animal keeper.

“She was known for charging other bison [and] charging the truck when we go into feed [them],” Komulainen said.


The bison would even challenge the park staff with her playfully menacing eyes after being told not to charge the other animals or truck, Komulainen said.

Trouble was born in the county park in Santa Clarita in 1988, from a herd of bison donated by Walt Disney in 1962.

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Over the years, Komulainen said, she watched the evolution of Trouble and the animal’s aging process.

“She slowed down some but still looked good and was fiesty,” Komulainen said, “but wasn’t aggressive like she was when she was younger, so she definitely mellowed with her older age.”

Although Trouble’s death has been sad for the park staff and volunteers who came to know her, Komulainen said, she lived a full life.

Trouble and the rest of the herd spent their days roaming three canyons and being tended to by staff in the animal barnyard.


The park is named after silent film actor William S. Hart, who died in 1946 and left his estate to L.A. County to be used as a free park. In his will, he asked that animals be a part of his park, Komulainen said.

“Hart was a cowboy in the movies ... so he really loved the Old West, and of course bison were a huge part of that,” Komulainen said.

Besides the 10 remaining bison, the park is home to a horse, two donkeys, two mule deer, tortoises, alpacas, a llama, pigs, rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks, swans, an emu and a cockatoo.

If the public wants to view the remaining bison, they can do so at a safe distance on a hike that loops around the park grounds called Bison Road.