At a national conference held in Rapid City, South Dakota, the Wildlife Conservation Society released a survey regarding how people view the American bison. According to the results, most of the people surveyed value the herd animal as a national symbol. However, less than 10% of those surveyed understood the status of the bison population in North America today.
Before European settlers came to the New World, the American bison numbered at around 30 million, and their range stretched all the way from Alaska to Mexico. Today, only 16,000 bison freely roam in North America.
The Wildlife Conservation Society hopes to promote the restoration of bison populations by appealing to government agencies, conservation groups, and ranchers. Ecological restoration of the American bison would mean that large herds could roam freely within their historic range and interact with other native species.
For more information about the American bison, their conservation status, and what you can do to help the bison, view Animal Fact Guide’s American bison article.