Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It's official: America's first national mammal is the bison

North America used to be teeming with bison. But in one century, their numbers plummeted from tens of millions to just a few dozen in the wild after hunters nearly wiped out the continent's largest mammals. Now the bison has become the first national mammal of the United States. On Monday, President Barack Obama signed into law the National Bison Legacy Act, which designates the bison as the official mammal of the United States. The legislation passed the House and Senate last month. At a time of political gridlock and partisan bickering, lawmakers agree on an official national mammal. The bison, which joins the bald eagle as a national symbol, represents the country's first successful foray into wildlife conservation. Lobbying for the official mammal designation was a coalition of conservationists; ranchers, for whom bison are business; and tribal groups, such as the InterTribal Buffalo Council, which wants to "restore bison to Indian nations in a manner that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices."...more

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