The American bison was named the nationwide mammal that the United claims on might 9, 2016. This majestic pet joins the ranks of the bald Eagle as the official symbol the our country -- and also much prefer the eagle, it’s one of the greatest conservation success story of all time.

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In prehistoric times, countless bison roamed north America -- from the forests of Alaska and the grasslands of Mexico to Nevada’s an excellent Basin and the east Appalachian Mountains. However by the so late 1800s, over there were only a couple of hundred bison left in the United says after european settlers pushed west, reducing the animal’s habitat and hunting the bison to close to extinction. Had it not been because that a couple of private individuals working through tribes, states and the inner Department, the bison would certainly be extinct today. 

Explore much more fun facts around the American bison:

 

1. Bison are the biggest mammal in north America. masculine bison (called bulls) weigh approximately 2,000 pounds and stand 6 feet tall, if females (called cows) weigh approximately 1,000 pounds and also reach a elevation of 4-5 feet. Bison calves weigh 30-70 pounds in ~ birth.

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Bison in ~ Rocky mountain Arsenal nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Colorado. Photograph by Jim Carr, U.S. Fish and also Wildlife Service.

 

2. Due to the fact that the late 19th century, Interior has actually been the primary national preservation steward that the bison. Public lands controlled by inner support 17 bison herds -- or around 10,000 bison -- in 12 states, including Alaska.

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A bison calf in between two adults. Photograph by rich Keen, DPRA.

 

3. What’s the difference between bison and also buffalo? if bison and also buffalo are supplied interchangeably, in phibìc America the clinical name is bison. Actually, the Bison bison bison (genus: Bison, species: bison, subspecies: bison), however only speak it as soon as is fine. Historians believe that the term “buffalo” prospered from the French word because that beef, “boeuf.”

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A relaxing bison in ~ Wichita hills National Wildlife Refuge. In 1907, the American Bison culture and the brand-new York Zoological culture donated 15 bison come the Wichita mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Today the refuge"s herd includes an estimated 650 bison. Photo through Nils Axelsen (www.sharetheexperience.org).

 

4.Yellowstone nationwide Park is the only location in the U.S. Wherein bison have actually continuously lived because prehistoric times. What provides Yellowstone’s bison so one-of-a-kind is the they’re the pure progeny (free of livestock genes) of early bison the roamed our country’s grasslands. As of July 2015, Yellowstone’s bison population was approximated at 4,900 -- making it the biggest bison populace on publicly lands.

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A bison walking by the cool Prismatic spring at Yellowstone national Park in Wyoming. Picture by Jennifer Michaud (www.sharetheexperience.org).

 

5. What’s a “red dog”? it’s a infant bison. Bison calves have tendency to be born from late March v May and are orange-red in color, earning castle the nickname “red dogs.” after ~ a few months, your hair start to adjust to dark brown and also their characteristic shoulder hump and horns begin to grow.

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A bison and also calf at Rocky mountain Aresenal national Wildlife Refuge in Colorado. Photo by rich Keen, DPRA.

 

6. The history of bison and also Native Americans are intertwined. Bison have been integral come tribal culture, offering them v food, clothing, fuel, tools, shelter and spiritual value. Created in 1992, the Inter lack Buffalo the supervisory board works with the nationwide Park business to transport bison from nationwide park lands to tribal lands.

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The national Bison variety in Montana. Picture by Ryan Hagerty, U.S. Fish and also Wildlife Service.

 

7. You have the right to judge a bison’s the atmosphere by the tail. When that hangs down and also switches naturally, the bison is usually calm. If the tail is standing directly up, watch out! It may be prepared to charge. No matter what a bison’s tail is bsci-ch.orgng, remember the they room unpredictable and can fee at any type of moment. Every year, there are regrettable accidents caused by civilization getting as well close come these substantial animals. It’s good to love the bison, but love them from a distance.

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A bison watching end a calf in ~ Yellowstone nationwide Park. Photo by Diana LeVasseur (www.sharetheexperience.org).

 

8. Wind cave National Park’s herd assisted revive bison populations around the country. The story start in 1905 v the development of the American Bison culture and a breeding program at the brand-new York City Zoo (today, the Bronx Zoo). Through 1913, the American Bison society had enough bison to reclaim a free-ranging bison herd. Working with Interior, castle donated 14 bison to Wind cave National Park in south Dakota. An ext than 100 years later, the bison from Wind cave have helped reestablishing other herds throughout the joined States and also most newly in Mexico. 

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A little herd that bison in ~ Wind cave National Park in southern Dakota. Picture by Tim Ehrlich (www.sharetheexperience.org).

 

9. Bison might be big, yet they’re likewise fast. They can run approximately 35 miles every hour. Plus, they’re exceptionally agile. Bison deserve to spin approximately quickly, run high fences and are solid swimmers.

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A bison charging through a river at Yellowstone national Park. Photograph by Donald Higgs (www.sharetheexperience.org).

 

10. Pass the salad, please. Bison generally eat grasses, weeds and also leafy tree -- commonly foraging for 9-11 hrs a day. That’s wherein the bison’s huge protruding shoulder hump come in handy throughout the winter. It enables them to swing your heads indigenous side-to-side come clear eye -- particularly for creating foraging patches. Learn how bison"s feeding habits can help ensure diversity that prairie plant varieties especially after ~ a fire.

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Bison in the eye at Yellowstone national Park. Picture by Neal Herbert, national Park Service.

 

11. Indigenous hunter come conservationist, Teddy Roosevelt assisted save bison indigenous extinction. In 1883, Teddy Roosevelt traveled to the Dakota territory to hunt bison. After spending a couple of years in the west, Roosevelt went back to new York through a new outlook ~ above life. He paved the method for the conservation movement, and in 1905, developed the American Bison culture with william Hornaday to save the disappearing bison. Today bison live in every 50 states, consisting of Native American lands, wildlife refuges, nationwide parks and private lands.

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A bison was standing alone in Theodore Roosevelt nationwide Park in north Dakota. Photograph by Brad Starry (www.sharetheexperience.org).

 

12. Bison can live up to 20 years old. The average lifespan for a bison is 10-20 years, yet some live to be older. Cows start breeding at the period of 2 and also only have actually one baby at a time. Because that males, the prime reproduction age is 6-10 years. Learn how Interior works to ensure genetic diversity and long-term viability that bison.

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Bison herd top top the move. Photo by Neal Herbert, nationwide Park Service.

 

13. A small dirt won’t hurt. dubbed wallowing, bison role in the dirt to deter biting paris and assist shed fur. Masculine bison additionally wallow throughout mating season to leave behind their scent and also display your strength.

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A bison rolling approximately in the dirt. Picture by Jim Peaco, nationwide Park Service.

 

14. The American bison’s ancestors deserve to be traced to southerly Asia countless years ago. Bison make their method to America by crossing the ancient land leg that once linked Asia through North America during the Pliocene Epoch, part 400,000 year ago. These old animals were much larger than the top bison we love today. Fossil records display that one primitive bison, Bison latiforns, had actually horns measure up 9 feet from tip to tip.

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Bison standing in the snow at the national Elk Refuge in Wyoming. Photograph by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

15. Bison are nearsighted -- who knew? when bison have poor eyesight, castle have wonderful senses the smell and hearing. Cows and calves interact using pig-like grunts, and during mating season, bulls have the right to be heard bellowing throughout long distances.

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A bison discovering a park info sign at Wind cave National Park. Photograph by national Park Service.