WASHINGTON – The bison could soon become the national mammal of the United States.
Legislation approved by Congress would elevate the bison’s stature to approach that of the bald eagle, long the national emblem. There has not been an official mammal of the United States.
Lawmakers called the bison the embodiment of American strength and resilience and said it reflects the nation’s pioneer spirit.
Bison, also known as buffalo, were central to many Native American cultures and were on the verge of extinction before revival efforts established herds on national refuges and parks.
Tens of millions of bison once thundered across a range stretching from central Canada through the Great Plains and northern Mexico. Now about 30,000 wild bison roam the country, with the largest population in Yellowstone National Park.
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