Yesterday President Barack Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, naming the ‘bison’ or ‘buffalo’ as the official National Mammal of the United States of America. While the bison has a beleaguered past, being hunt to near extinction by early American settlers, I’m 100% cool with the buffalo being named the National Mammal of America because it’s one of the most iconic symbols of American history.
Also, if you’ve never seen this video and/or you’re on the fence about the buffalo being the new symbol of American prosperity you need to watch this now:
Also, this does not mean that the Bald Eagle is taking a backseat. On the contrary last month both The House and Senate pushed forward the legislation to give the bison equal footing with the bird that represents freedom and prosperity worldwide. Nick Gass of Politico.com reports:
The House and Senate moved on the legislation last month, which sought to put the bald eagle on equal footing with the bison as an official symbol of the U.S. Bald eagle lovers need not worry. Contrary to rumors, the law does not mean the bald eagle has lost its status. The move followed lobbying from a varied coalition of conservationists, tribal groups and ranchers.
As of 2012, there were 162,110 bison on private farms and ranches, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture census, in addition to an estimated 20,000 roaming public lands in the U.S. and Canada. While a far cry from the tens of millions that once roamed the country before the intensification of bison hunting, the number of bison (or buffalo, as they are also called) has risen thanks to conservation efforts.
Certainly this won’t mean that we’ll see a resurgence of the American Bison over night, but over time methinks this designation as the Official National Mammal of America will lead to the Great American Buffalo flourishing once again.