On May 9, 2016, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, officially making the American bison the national mammal of the United States. This majestic animal joins the ranks of the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of our country — and much like the eagle, it’s one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time.
In prehistoric times, millions of bison roamed North America — from the forests of Alaska and the grasslands of Mexico to Nevada’s Great Basin and the eastern Appalachian Mountains. But by the late 1800s, there were only a few hundred bison left in the United States after European settlers pushed west, reducing the animal’s habitat and hunting the bison to near extinction. Had it not been for a few private individuals working with tribes, states and the Interior Department, the bison would be extinct today.
Explore more fun facts about the American bison:
1. Bison are the largest mammal in North America
2. Since the late 19th century, Interior has been the primary national conservation steward of the bison
3. What’s the difference between bison and buffalo? While bison and buffalo are used interchangeably, in North America the scientific name is bison.
4.Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times.
5. What’s a “red dog”? It’s a baby bison.
6. The history of bison and Native Americans are intertwined. Bison have been integral to tribal culture, providing them with food, clothing, fuel, tools, shelter and spiritual value. Established in 1992, the Inter Tribal Buffalo Council works with the National Park Service to transfer bison from national park lands to tribal lands.
7. You can judge a bison’s mood by its tail.
8. Wind Cave National Park’s herd helped revive bison populations around the country.
9. Bison may be big, but they’re also fast.
10. Pass the salad, please. Bison primarily eat grasses, weeds and leafy plants — typically foraging for 9-11 hours a day.
11. From hunter to conservationist, Teddy Roosevelt helped save bison from extinction.
12. Bison can live up to 20 years old.
13. A little dirt won’t hurt. Called wallowing, bison roll in the dirt to deter biting flies and help shed fur.
14. The American bison’s ancestors can be traced to southern Asia thousands of years ago.
15. Bison are nearsighted — who knew?
For the entire article: https://www.doi.gov/blog/15-facts-about-our-national-mammal-american-bison