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 Saving Wildlife Together - Saving the American Bison

American Bison

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The story of the American Bison is a tragic one. There were estimated between 40 and 60 million bison in North American with 200,000 bison remaining today, confined to a few scattered reserves and ranches where they are raised for meat. Unlike the Plains Indians who killed only as many as they could use, the European settlers shot up to 50 million bison for food, sport, and to deprive Native Americans of their most important natural asset, reducing the number of bison to just a few hundred. The heaviest land animals in North America, Bison live in herds of about 50 animals which provides defense against predators like wolves and coyotes. They have a keen sense of smell and hearing but poor vision. They spend their days grazing, eating mainly grass, herbs, shrubs, and twigs. Despite their massive size they can run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. Females give birth to one calf after a nine-month pregnancy. The bison grow a dark, warm, shaggy coat which enables them to withstand great extremes in temperature. Each spring their coat is replaced by a shorter, lighter, summer coat. They take frequent mud or dust baths to keep clean. Bison can live 20 years in the wild and up to 40 years in captivity. Although many people refer to it as a buffalo, it is not related to the buffalo found in Africa, and its proper name is bison.

American Bison - Fast Facts

Type: Mammal
Diet: Herbivore
Average lifespan in the wild: 12 to 20 years
Size: Head and body, 7 to 11.5 ft (2.1 to 3.5 m); Tail 19.75 to 23.5 in (50 to 60 cm)
Weight: 930 to 2,200 lbs (422 to 998 kg)
Group name: Herd
Did you know? The bison's thick, shaggy coat is so well insulated that snow can settle on its back without melting.
Status: STABLE

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