American Bison North America's Iconic Animal

American Bison

American Bison North America’s Iconic Animal

American bison North America’s iconic animal.

Scientific Name: Bison bison
English name: American Bison
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetartiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Link to Red List page: Red List page of American Bison

IUCN red list classification as near threatened

Where to find:

His area is very big and is between Canada and Alaska to northern Mexico. So he lives everywhere there is grassland between this two countries. He is present even in some parks like Yellowstone.


His Habitat is the large North American grassland.


It is a very big animal and his weight on average 700 to 900 kg. And big bulls can arrive even at 1200 kg. American Bison is tall and at the shoulder, the bull can be even 190 cm. He is width between 200 to 360 cm. On the head, he has a pair of horns a little bit short from 25 to 35 cm.

American bison
Photo by Uriel Soberanes


American Bison is an iconic wild animal living in North America. History of bison is strictly connected with America’s colonization. You need to imagine before the colonization the population was 60 million. They were distributed from Canada to Mexico. And now are around 500.000 in private lands and 300.000 in fenced lands.

Anyway, of this large number, just 15.000 are wild. In 1900 they were almost extinct. Just 300 remain before the ending of the massacre.

So you can imagine in a map of North America they are present in the half of territory. But in this territory, they are in small spots.

One of the reasons for this incredible situation was the necessity of remove food to the native Americans. So the settlers supposed to extinct the bison just for to extinct the natives!!! Human is the first killer in the world, up to extinct himself.

Male and female lives in separates groups and they join together in the breeding season only. As a result of the remaining time, they stay separate.

Female create groups with the calves and they are dominated by an alpha female. Female and males live in large herds. A curiosity: between the males are more frequent the homosexual behaviors.
Spectacular is the fighting between males during the love season.

Major risk:

The major risk obviously is the human. The anthropization of the territory made his presence spotted. Consequently, they became sedentary, behavior absolutely unnatural for the bison. Just a part of the bison are wild yet, the consistent part is in the farms. There they create hybrids and they are considerate livestock.

Another issue is the regulation different in many countries. In some countries is considerate wild, and in some other are considerate livestock. So even the protection programs have some difficulty.