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bison

bison, large hoofed mammal, genus Bison, of the cattle family. Bison have short horns and humped, heavily mantled shoulders that slope downward to the hindquarters. The European bison, or wisent, Bison bonasus, has a less luxuriant mane and beard than the American species, B. bison.

The American bison is commonly called buffalo, but true buffalo are African and Asian animals of the same family. B. bison is characterized by a huge, low-slung head and massive hump; its legs are shorter than those of the wisent. Males may reach a shoulder height of over 5 ft (1.5 m), a body length of 9 ft (2.7 m), and a weight of 2,500 lb (1,130 kg). The winter coat of the American bison is dark brown and shaggy; it is shed in spring and replaced by a coat of short, light-brown fur. Bison graze on prairie grasses, migrating south in search of food in the winter.

They formerly were found over much of North America, especially on the Great Plains, and were hunted by Native Americans for their flesh and hides. During the 19th cent. they were subjected to a wholesale slaughter that resulted in their near extinction. They were killed for their tongues, regarded as a delicacy, and shot for sport from trains. Estimates of the number of bison in North America, at their peak, range from 24 million to 60 million. By the middle of the 19th cent. the bison was extinct E of the Mississippi, and by 1900 there remained only two wild herds in North America, one of plains bison in Yellowstone Park, and one of the larger variety, called wood bison, in Canada. Protective laws were passed beginning at the end of the last century, and the bison population has since risen from a few hundred to many thousands, although most bison not on federal lands have been hybridized to some degree with domestic cattle. The wood bison may have vanished as a distinct race through hybridization with the plains bison.

Bison are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.

See T. McHugh and V. Hobson, The Time of the Buffalo (1972); J. N. Mcdonald, North American Bison (1981); V. Geist, Buffalo Nation (1996).

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bison

bison Two species of wild oxen formerly ranging over the grasslands and open woodlands of most of North America and Europe. Once numbered in millions, the American bison (often incorrectly called a buffalo) is now almost extinct in the wild. The wisent (European bison) was reduced to two herds by the 18th century. Both species now survive in protected areas. The American species is not as massive or as shaggy as the European. Length: to 3.5m (138in); height: to 3m (118in); weight: to 1350kg (2976lb). Family Bovidae; species American Bison bison; wisent Bison bonasus.

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bison

bison in the present form first recorded from A. V. (Deut. 14: 5 margin), earlier in L. pl. bisontes of bison (whence F. bison) — Gmc. *wisand-, *wisund- (OE. wesend, OHG. wisant. -unt, ON. visundr); familiar in recent times in connection with the American bison.

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bison

bi·son / ˈbīsən; -zən/ • n. (pl. same) a humpbacked shaggy-haired wild ox (genus Bison) native to North America (B. bison) and Europe (B. bonasus).

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Bison

Bison See BOVIDAE.

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bison

bison •Masson •flaxen, Jackson, klaxon, Sachsen, Saxon, waxen •Samson •Branson, Jansen, Manson, Nansen •arson, Carson, fasten, parson, sarsen •Bresson, delicatessen, Essen, lessen, lesson •Texan •Belsen, keelson, Nelson •Mendelssohn • Empson •Benson, ensign •Stetson •basin, caisson, chasten, diapason, hasten, Jason, mason •Bateson • handbasin • washbasin •Freemason • stonemason • Nielsen •Stevenson •christen, glisten, listen •Gibson, Ibsen •Blixen, Nixon, vixen •Nilsson, Stillson, Wilson •Nicholson • Simpson • Whitsun •Robinson • Acheson •Addison, Madison •Edison •Atkinson • Dickinson • Alison •Tennyson, venison •unison •caparison, comparison, garrison, Harrison •Ericsson • Morrison •archdiocesan, diocesan •jettison • Davisson •bison, Meissen, Tyson •Michelson • Robson •coxswain, oxen •Mommsen, Thompson •Johnson, Jonson, sponson, Swanson •Watson •coarsen, hoarsen, Orson •boatswain, bosun •Robeson • Jolson • moisten • loosen •Wolfson • Cookson • Hudson •Bunsen • tutsan •Grierson, Pearson •Culbertson • Richardson • Anderson •Jefferson • Ferguson • Rowlandson •Amundsen • Emerson • Jespersen •Saracen • Peterson • Williamson •person, worsen •Bergson • chairperson • layperson •salesperson • sportsperson •spokesperson

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Bison

Bison


The American bison (Bison bison ) or "buffalo" is one of the most famous animals of the American West. Providing food and hides to the early Indians, it was almost completely eliminated by hunters, and now only remnant populations exist though its future survival seems assured.

Scientists do not consider the American bison a true buffalo (like the Asian water buffalo or the African buffalo), since it has a large head and neck, a hump at the shoulder, and 14 pairs of ribs instead of 13. In America, however, the names are used interchangeably. A full-grown American bison bull stand 5.56 ft (1.71.8 m) at the shoulder, extends 1012.25 ft (33.8 m) in length from nose to tail, and weighs 1,6003,000 lb (7261,400 kg). Cows usually weigh about 900 lb (420 kg) or less. Bison are brown-black with long hair which covers their heads, necks, and humps, forming a "beard" at the chin and throat. Their horns can have a spread as large as 35 in (89 cm). Bison can live for 30 or more years, and they are social creatures, living together in herds. Bison bulls are extremely powerful; a charging bull has been known to shatter wooden blanks 2 in (5 cm) thick and 12 in (30 cm) wide.

The American bison is one of the most abundant animals ever to have existed on the North American continent, roaming in huge herds between the Appalachians and the Rockies as far south as Florida. One herd seen in Arkansas in 1870 was described as stretching "from six to 10 mi (9.7 to 16.1 km) in almost every direction." In the far West, the herds were even larger, stretching as far as the eye could see, and in 1871 a cavalry troop rode for six days through a herd of bison.

The arrival of Europeans in America sealed the fate of the American bison. By the 1850s massive slaughters of these creatures had eliminated them from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, and Tennessee. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, railroads began to bring a massive influx of settlers to the West and bison were killed in enormous numbers. The famous hunter "Buffalo Bill" Cody was able to bag 4,280 bison in just 18 months, and between 1854 and 1856, an Englishman named Sir George Gore killed about 6,000 bison along the lower Yellowstone River. Shooting bison from train windows became a popular recreation during the long trip west; there were contests to see who could kill the most animals on a single trip, and on one such excursion a group accompanying Grand Duke Alexis of Russia shot 1,500 bison in just two days. When buffalo tongue became a delicacy sought after by gourmets in the east, even more bison were killed for their tongues and their carcasses left to rot.

In the 1860s and 1870s extermination of the American bison became the official policy of the United States Government in order to deprive the Plains Indians of their major source of food, clothing, and shelter. During the 1870s, two to four million bison were shot each year, and 200,000 hides were sold in St. Louis in a single day. Inevitably, the extermination of the bison helped to eliminate not only the Plains Indians, but also the predatory animals dependent on it for food, such as plains wolves . By 1883, according to some reports, only one wild herd of bison remained in the West, consisting of about 10,000 individuals confined to a small part of North Dakota. In September of that year, a group of hunters set off to kill the remaining animals and by November the job was done.

By 1889 or 1890 the entire North American bison population had plummeted to about 500 animals, most of which were in captivity. A group of about 20 wild bison remained in Yellowstone National Park , and about 300 wood bison (Bison bison athabascae ) survived near Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories. At that time, naturalist William Temple Hornaday led a campaign to save the species from complete extinction by the passage of laws and other protective measures. Canada enacted legislation to protect its remnant bison population in 1893 and the United States took similar action the following year.

Today, thousands of bison are found in several national parks, private ranches, and game preserves in the United States. About 15,000 are estimated to inhabit Wood Bison National Park and other locations in Canada. The few hundred wood bison originally saved around Great Slave Lake also continued to increase in numbers until the population reached around 2,000 in 1922. But in the following years, the introduction of plains bison to the area caused hybridization, and pure specimens of wood bison probably disappeared around Great Slave Lake. Fortunately, a small, previously unknown herd of wood bison was discovered in 1957 on the upper North Yarling River, buffered from hybridization by 75 mi (121 km) of swampland. From this herd (estimated at about 100 animals in 1965) about 24 animals were successfully transplanted to an area near Fort Providence in the Northwest Territories and 45 were relocated to Elk Island National Park in Alberta. Despite these rebuilding programs, the wood bison is still considered endangered, and is listed as such by the U. S. Department of the Interior. It is also listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) treaty.

Controversy still surrounds the largest herd of American bison (5,0006,000 animals in the early 1990s) in Yellowstone National Park. The free-roaming bison often leave the park in search of food in the winter and Montana cattle ranchers along the park borders fear that the bison could infect their herds with brucellosis, a contagious disease that can cause miscarriages and infertility in cows. In an effort to prevent any chance of brucellosis transmission, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, along with sport hunters acting in cooperation with these agencies, killed 1,044 bison between 1984 and 1992. Montana held a lottery-type hunt, and 569 bison were killed in the winter of 198889, and 271 were killed in the winter of 199192. The winter of 199697 was exceptionally harsh, and some 850 buffalo of the Park's remaining 3,500 starved or froze to death. In addition, the NPS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Montana Department of Livestock cooperated in a stepped-up buffalo killing program, in which some 1,080 were shot or shipped off to slaughterhouses. In all, more than half of Yellowstone's bison herd perished that winter.

Wildlife protection groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals , have protested the hunting of these bisonwhich usually consists of walking up to an animal and shooting it. Animal protection organizations have offered alternatives to the killing of the bison, including fencing certain areas to prevent them from coming into contact with cattle. Conversely, Montana state officials and ranchers, as well as the USDA, have long pressured the National Park Service to eradicate many or all of the Yellowstone bison herd or at least test the animals and eliminate those showing signs of brucellosis. Such an action, however, would mean the eradication of most of the Yellowstone herd, even though no bison have not been known to infect a single local cow.

There is also a species of European bison called the wisent (Bison bonasus ) which was once found throughout much of Europe. It was nearly exterminated in the early 1900s, but today a herd of about 1,600 animals can be found in a forest on the border between Poland and Russia. The European bison is considered vulnerable by IUCNThe World Conservation Union .

See also Endangered Species Act; Endangered species; Overhunting; Rare species; Wildlife management

[Lewis G. Regenstein ]

RESOURCES

BOOKS

Grainger, D. Animals in Peril. Toronto: Pagurian Press, 1978.

McHugh, T. Time of the Buffalo. New York: Knopf, 1972.

Park, E. The World of the Bison. New York: Lippincott, 1969.

PERIODICALS

Turbak, G. "When the Buffalo Roam." National Wildlife 24 (1986): 30-35.

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Bison

Bison

Americas largest mammal

Life in the herd

Bison reproduction

The disappearing bison

Resources

The American bison (Bison bison ) is a large, herbivorous land mammal native to the grasslands and open forests of North America. It is a member of the family Bovidae, which also includes cattle, sheep, and goats. When French explorers first saw these large, shaggy, cow-like animals, they called them boeufs, the French word for cattle. This later became anglicized into the word buffalo, a name still applied to the bison, despite the fact that there are other bovids in Africa and Asia more properly known as buffalo.

There are two subspecies of American bison, the plains bison (B. b. bison ) and the wood bison (B. b. athabascae ). The wood bison lives west and north of the plains bison, and is larger and darker in color. Because its habitat is open woodland and muskeg, it does not live in such huge herds as the plains bison once did. However, some taxonomists do not recognize wood bison and plains bison as separate subspecies.

Bison probably came to North America from Eurasia during the most recent ice age. They did this perhaps 25,000 years ago, by traveling along a land-bridge across the present-day Bering Strait. The land-bridge existed because sea level was lower then, owing to so much of Earths water being on land in the form of glacial ice. The only Eurasian remnant is the European bison or wisent (B. bonasus ), which now only survives in a few small free-ranging and captive herds (about 2,900 animals as of 2000) in Belorussia, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. Another population of wisents in the Caucasus Mountains became extinct in 1925. The wisent is somewhat smaller than the American bison and does not have as large a hump.

Americas largest mammal

The male (or bull) bison can reach 6.5 ft (2 m) in height and measure up to 12 ft (3.7 m) long, and is twice as large as the female (or cow). Male bison commonly weigh 2, 000 lb (900 kg), but animals twice as large have been reported. American bison have a huge hump across the shoulders, which rises 1 ft (30 cm) or more above the top of their head. The dark brown hair growing on the hump is long and shaggy, and the thick body fur allows bison to tolerate air temperatures as low as -49°F (-45°C). In the spring, bison molt their winter coat and great quantities of their hair falls off. The back half of their body has short, lighter-colored hair. The head is covered with a helmet of thick black hair that terminates under the chin as a goatee. Extremely rare white bison are revered by Native Americans of the Plains. When one was born in 1994, people traveled long distances to Wisconsin to see it. As the calf grew older, however, its fur turned darker.

Bison have large, curved, hollow horns growing sideways from their big, heavy head, which are never shed. The horns may reach a length of 24-26 in (60-65 cm), but are usually much shorter. The horns of females curve back toward the head more than that of males. Bison have no front teeth, and eat grass and other herbaceous plants by wrapping them around their tongue and pulling to break them off the root-stock. Bison are ruminant animals. As such, they have a four-chambered stomach and chew a cud.

Their short tail is used both as a flyswatter and as an indicator of excitement, for the normally drooping tail rises into the air when a bison is angry or otherwise excited. Bison are subject to attack by numerous biting flies and ticks, and they have a habit of rolling in dirt or mud to relieve their itchiness. Because of their hump they cannot roll over completely, so they rock and kick first on one side and then on the other. This maneuver is called wallowing, and it also helps get rid of molting hair.

Life in the herd

Estimates of the prehistoric numbers of bison on the American plains, before the arrival of Europeans, vary from 30-80 million. At the time, bison were a pantry on the hoof for the Plains tribes of Native Americans, who used the animals for food, clothing, fuel, and shelter, killing only what they needed to survive.

Bison herds move around constantly in search of food and water, and typically travel several miles a day. Unlike many migrating animals, bison do not follow set paths each year, and even minor stimuli can change their direction of travel. This might be a strange scent in the wind, an unfamiliar animal crossing their path, or a dried-up water hole. The only set pattern to their migration is that they meander north to find a good place to raise their young in the summer, and then south to ride out the winter. The herd follows experienced, lead animals. Bison in herds continually make noises to each other, using roars, grunts, sneezing, snorts, and bawling to communicate different meanings.

The least hint of danger can set a herd stampeding across the prairie. The stampede speed may reach 35 mph (56 km/h), although they cannot keep that speed up for more than about half an hour. If running does not shake their pursuers, bison may turn abruptly and charge. The animals skull in the forehead is double-thick, protecting the brain from damage during impact.

Bison reproduction

In the early summer, bulls and cows gather for the rut. During the rut, bulls challenge each other for the right to mate with cows. Cows first mate when about two years old, but bulls do not do so until they are older and strong enough to challenge dominant males. A few loud roars and an enthusiastic demonstration of kicking and wallowing is usually enough to convince a lower-ranked bull to look elsewhere for a mate. Only rarely does an actual fight occur, when bulls lock horns and charge each other.

When a dominant bull selects a mate, he bonds with her by grazing side by side for some hours, away from the rest of the herd. After a brief nocturnal mating, the companionship may continue for a brief time, but then the male departs, looking for another female. The females usually mate only once.

The gestation period lasts nine-and-a-half months, and new calves are born in the spring. This begins about mid-April, though births may continue into the early autumn. Newborn calves are cinnamon-colored, weigh about 50 lb (23 kg), and can walk and nurse within 2-3 hours of birth. The calves start to eat grass within about 15 days, and at about two months of age their hump and horns begin to show and their coat darkens to the adult color. Bison typically live to an average age of about 20 years in the wild, but can reach 40 years in captivity.

The disappearing bison

The enormous bison herds of North America shrank rapidly in the face of relentless over-hunting during the westward migration of European settlement. The presence of bison conflicted with the aspirations of people looking for land to settle and farm,

KEY TERMS

Bovid An animal of the Bovidae, or cow family, characterized by a grazing habit and having hollow horns.

Molt To lose one type of hair in preparation for a new type to grow in. Bison molt twice a year as the seasons change.

Ruminant A cud-chewing animal with a four-chambered stomach and even-toed hooves.

Rut The period during which males challenge each other to acquire access to females.

Wallowing Rolling and kicking in the dust to eliminate insect pests and scratch itchy skin.

and with the aims of government, which wanted to subdue the native tribes of Plains Indians. As the railroads were built through the Central Plains, travelers were encouraged to shoot bison from the windows of the train, for fun and excitement. The carcasses were often left to rot. More important, however, was the huge market hunt for the plains bison, with trainloads of butchered carcasses and hides being shipped to markets in American cities. By 1905, the excessive hunting resulted in only an endangered 500 bison left surviving on their range in the United States. A herd of endangered wood bison, discovered in northwestern Canada in 1957, is protected in Wood Buffalo National Park and nearby areas.

Although bison are still a threatened species, there has been some recovery and there are now substantial wild herds in some places, such as Yellowstone National Park. Some ranchers are raising semi-domestic animals and sell buffalo meat, which has less cholesterol than beef. It has even been suggested that herds of bison might once again be allowed to roam free on parts of the North American prairie, creating a tourist attraction to bring money to economically depressed areas. However, not much suitable habitat is left in a natural condition, and the enormous bison herds of the past will never again be seen.

Resources

BOOKS

Berman, Ruth. American Bison. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1992.

Geist, V. Buffalo Nation: History and Legend of the North American Bison. Voyageur Press, 1998.

Green, Carl R., and William R. Sanford. The Bison. New York: Crestwood House, 1985.

Isenberg, Andrew C. The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 17501920. New ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Lott, D.F. The American Bison: A Natural History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

MacDonald, David, and Sasha Norris, eds. Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File, 2001.

Nowak, Ronald M. Walkers Mammals of the World. 6th ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Time-Life Books, eds. Lords of the Plains. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1993.

Jean F. Blashfield

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Bison

Bison

The American bison (Bison bison) is a large, herbivorous land mammal native to the grasslands and open forests of North America . It is a member of the family Bovidae, which also includes cattle, sheep , and goats . When French explorers first saw these large, shaggy, cow-like animals, they called them boeufs, the French word for "cattle." This later became anglicized into the word "buffalo," a name still applied to the bison, despite the fact that there are other bovids in Africa and Asia more properly known as buffalo.

There are two subspecies of American bison, the plains bison (B. b. bison) and the wood bison (B. b. athabascae ). The wood bison lives west and north of the plains bison, and is larger and darker in color . Because its habitat is open woodland and muskeg, it does not live in such huge herds as the plains bison once did. However, some taxonomists do not recognize wood bison and plains bison as separate subspecies.

Bison probably came to North America from Eurasia during the most recent ice age. They did this perhaps 25,000 years ago, by travelling along a land-bridge across the present-day Bering Strait. The land-bridge existed because sea level was lower then, owing to so much of Earth's water being on land in the form of glacial ice . The only Eurasian remnant is the European bison or wisent (B. bonasus), which now only survives in protected forest on the borderland of Poland and Belarus. Another population of wisents in the Caucasus Mountains became extinct in 1925. The wisent is somewhat smaller than the American bison and does not have as large a hump.


America's largest mammal

The male (or bull) bison can reach 6.5 ft (2 m) in height and measure up to 12 ft (3.7 m) long, and is twice as large as the female (or cow). Male bison commonly weigh 2,000 lb (900 kg), but animals twice as large have been reported. American bison have a huge hump across the shoulders that rises 1 ft (30 cm) or more above the top of their head. The dark brown hair growing on the hump is long and shaggy, and the thick body fur allows bison to tolerate air temperatures as low as -49°F (-45°C). In the spring, bison molt their winter coat and great quantities of their hair falls off. The back half of their body has short, lighter-colored hair. The head is covered with a helmet of thick black hair that terminates under the chin as a "goatee." Extremely rare white bison are revered by Native Americans of the Plains. When one was born in 1994, people traveled long distances to Wisconsin to see it. As the calf grew older, however, its fur turned darker.

Bison have large, curved, hollow horns growing sideways from their big, heavy head, which are never shed. The horns may reach a length of 24-26 in (60-65 cm), but are usually much shorter. The horns of females curve back toward the head more than that of males. Bison have no front teeth, and eat grass and other herbaceous plants by wrapping them around their tongue and pulling to break them off the rootstock. Bison are ruminant animals. As such, they have a four-chambered stomach and chew a cud.

Their short tail is used both as a flyswatter and as an indicator of excitement, for the normally drooping tail rises into the air when a bison is angry or otherwise excited. Bison are subject to attack by numerous biting flies and ticks, and they have a habit of rolling in dirt or mud to relieve their itchiness. Because of their hump they cannot roll over completely, so they rock and kick first on one side and then on the other. This maneuver is called wallowing, and it also helps get rid of molting hair.


Life in the herd

Estimates of the prehistoric numbers of bison on the American plains, before the arrival of Europeans, vary from 30-80 million. At the time, bison were a "pantry on the hoof" for the Plains tribes of Native Americans, who used the animals for food, clothing, fuel, and shelter, killing only what they needed to survive.

Bison herds move around constantly in search of food and water, and typically travel several miles a day. Unlike many migrating animals, bison do not follow set paths each year, and even minor stimuli can change their direction of travel. This might be a strange scent in the wind , an unfamiliar animal crossing their path, or a dried-up water hole. The only set pattern to their migration is that they meander north to find a good place to raise their young in the summer, and then south to ride out the winter. The herd follows experienced, lead animals. Bison in herds continually make noises to each other, using roars, grunts, sneezing, snorts, and bawling to communicate different meanings.

The least hint of danger can set a herd stampeding across the prairie . The stampede speed may reach 35 mph (56 kph), though they cannot keep that speed up for more than about half an hour. If running does not shake their pursuers, bison may turn abruptly and charge. The animal's skull in the forehead is double-thick, protecting the brain from damage during impact.


The continuing generations

In the early summer, bulls and cows gather for the rut. During the rut, bulls challenge each other for the right to mate with cows. Cows first mate when about two years old, but bulls do not do so until they are older and strong enough to challenge dominant males. A few loud roars and an enthusiastic demonstration of kicking and wallowing is usually enough to convince a lower-ranked bull to look elsewhere for a mate. Only rarely does an actual fight occur, when bulls lock horns and charge each other.

When a dominant bull selects a mate, he bonds with her by grazing side by side for some hours, away from the rest of the herd. After a brief nocturnal mating, the companionship may continue for a brief time, but then the male departs, looking for another female. The females usually mate only once.

The gestation period lasts nine-and-a-half months, and new calves are born in the spring. This begins about mid-April, though births may continue into the early autumn. Newborn calves are cinnamon-colored, weigh about 50 lb (23 kg), and can walk and nurse within 2-3 hours of birth . The calves start to eat grass within about 15 days, and at about two months of age their hump and horns begin to show and their coat darkens to the adult color. Bison typically live to an average age of about 20 years in the wild, but can reach 40 years in captivity.


The disappearing bison

The enormous bison herds of North America shrank rapidly in the face of relentless over-hunting during the westward migration of European settlement. The presence of bison conflicted with the aspirations of people looking for land to settle and farm, and with the aims of government, which wanted to subdue the native tribes of Plains Indians. As the railroads were built through the Central Plains, travelers were encouraged to shoot bison from the windows of the train for fun and excitement. The carcasses were often left to rot. More important, however, was the huge market hunt for the plains bison, with trainloads of butchered carcasses and hides being shipped to markets in American cities. By 1905, the excessive hunting resulted in only an endangered 500 bison left surviving on their range in the United States. A herd of endangered wood bison, discovered in northwestern Canada in 1957, is protected in Wood Buffalo National Park and nearby areas.

Although bison are still a threatened species , there has been some recovery and there are now substantial wild herds in some places, such as Yellowstone National Park. Some ranchers are raising semi-domestic animals and sell buffalo meat, which has less cholesterol than beef. It has even been suggested that herds of bison might once again be allowed to roam free on parts of the North American prairie, creating a tourist attraction to bring money to economically depressed areas. However, not much suitable habitat is left in a natural condition, and the enormous bison herds of the past will never again be seen.

Resources

books

Berman, Ruth. American Bison. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1992.

Caras, Roger A. North American Mammals: Fur-Bearing Animals of the United States and Canada. New York: Meredith Press, 1967.

Geist, V. Buffalo Nation: History and Legend of the NorthAmerican Bison. Voyageur Press, 1998.

Green, Carl R., and William R. Sanford. The Bison. New York: Crestwood House, 1985.

MacDonald, David, and Sasha Norris, eds. Encyclopedia ofMammals. New York: Facts on File, 2001.

Stidworthy, John. Mammals: The Large Plant-Eaters. New York: Facts On File, 1988.

Time-Life Books, eds. Lords of the Plains. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1993.


Jean F. Blashfield

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bovid

—An animal of the Bovidae, or cow family, characterized by a grazing habit and having hollow horns.

Molt

—To lose one type of hair in preparation for a new type to grow in. Bison molt twice a year as the seasons change.

Ruminant

—A cud-chewing animal with a four-chambered stomach and even-toed hooves.

Rut

—The period during which males challenge each other to acquire access to females.

Wallowing

—Rolling and kicking in the dust to eliminate insect pests and scratch itchy skin.

Cite this article
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"Bison." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bison." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 10, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bison-0

"Bison." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved September 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bison-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

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http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

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Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.