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The American Bison


The American bison (pronounced “buy-son”) is the national mammal of the US. Bison and buffalo look alike, but buffalo are wild cattle native to Africa and Asia; bison are wild cattle native to Europe and North America.

  • The bison is North America’s heaviest land mammal—males can weigh more than a ton—and can run up to 35 miles per hour.
  • Once numbering many millions, by 1895 only a few hundred bison remained in the US. Conservation saved the species. Today there are more than half a million bison across North America and the number is slowly increasing.