The plains bison is found in Canada and the United States, in the Northern Great Plains. They weigh up to 2,000 pounds and can run 40 miles per hour. Although at one point they numbered 30 to 60 million in North America, their numbers declined dramatically over just a few decades as American expansion gravitated towards the west. No other species has declined as quickly.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Bisons roam continuously as they eat. The females, or cows, lead family groups. Bulls remain solitary or in small groups for most of the year, but rejoin the group during mating season.
- In winter, bison can dig through deep snow with their heads to reach the vegetation below.
- Bulls and cows do not mingle until the breeding season. Dominant bulls "tend" to cows, following the cow around until the cow chooses to mate. During this period, the bull blocks the cow's vision so that she may not see other competing bulls, and bellows at males trying to get the cow's attention.
- The IUCN has classified the plains bison as near threatened.
- The plains bison's scientific name is Bison bison bison.