American Bison

 

“…its toughness and hardy endurance fitted it to contend with purely natural forces…to resist cold and wintery blasts or the heat of the thirsty summer, to wander away to new pastures, to plunge over the broken ground, and to plow its way through snow drifts or quagmires.”

The National Mammal of the United States is bison bison; some people call it buffalo, some people call them tatanka, or pezhekee.

There was a time when bison ruled over the North American continent, before European 2000px-bison_original_range_map-svgcolonization and Manifest Destiny. The bison was on its way to extinction as the continent became more populated with humans. If it weren’t for common environmentalist historical figures, like Theodore Roosevelt, the bison would surely have went extinct. Bison were killed for their meat and hides to the absolute brink of extinction; to the point where only ~325 wild bison left in the United States in 1884.

The American Bison acts as a symbol of sacrifice to Native Americans; just this past week, as police forces took action against peaceful protestors at Standing Rock, a herd of thousands of bison stormed across the landscape which served as a reminder to them that the Great Spirit is with them as they fight for the right to their land. It is an important part of their culture and what Anglosaxon European Americans did as they moved west just proves the destruction of Native American culture further.

The destruction of the American Bison is a very sad event; our national mammal was brought to the brink of extinction and now it is very rare to see a wild bison. The bison that exist today in private-owned herds are likely not related to the bison of the past as they have been cross-bred.

The herd of Daniel’s Park has about 30 bison. The exact origin of them is not sure because of all the killings of the bison of the earlier centuries. They are very protected in Daniel’s Park and they are well fed. They have no predators whatsoever. Although I have technically not seen a bison in the wild, seeing them at the park was very eye-opening. Ever since I moved to Colorado, I have become fascinated with this animal. They are huge, furry animals whose eyes are so alluring and interesting. I swear I could look at these beautiful animals forever. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to look out onto the Great Plains and see thousands of these creatures run across with no fences or houses stopping them.

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