Bison Declared National Mammal of the US

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Move over bald eagles, the bison are coming for you.

While the bald eagle may be the national bird of the U.S., President Obama made the bison the official mammal of the United States on Monday by signing the National Bison Legacy Act into law.

It is the first time the U.S. has designated a national mammal.

Here are some things you may want to know about the newly appointed mammal.

Bison Were Once Almost Extinct

Bison once roamed North America by the millions, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but by the 1800s they neared extinction. The decimation came from hunters in the 1800s going after them for their skins. In 1872 it is estimated that 5,000 bison were killed every day.

Today, according to the National Park Service, approximately 30,000 bison live in public and private herds in North America.

Former President Teddy Roosevelt paved the way for their conservation, according to the Department of the Interior. In 1905, he and William Hornaday formed the American Bison Society to help save the animal.

They Don’t Let Their Hump Slow Them Down


Bison are the largest land mammal in North America, weighing up to 2,000 pounds, according to the National Park Service. And they don’t let their weight slow them down. Bison can run up to 35 miles per hour, with the ability to pivot easily and quickly.

What is that hump about anyway? The National Park Service explains: “a bison’s massive hump is comprised of muscles supported by long vertebrae; this allows a bison to use its head as a snowplow in winter, swinging side to side to sweep aside the snow.”

They Are Already the Official Mammal for Three States

The bison has previously been adopted as the official mammal of Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming. The animal, also known as the American buffalo, also appears on two state flags -- Wyoming and Kansas.

It is also featured on the 1935 buffalo nickel and the Kansas and North Dakota state quarters. It is also the mascot for several sports teams and is on the seal for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Check Also

Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing

Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombingSeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Officials broke ground in Boston Wednesday for a new park dedicated to Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Martin was 8 years old when he killed on April 15, 2013, as he watched the marathon from near the finish line with his family. His mother was gravely injured, and his sister, who was 7 at the time,
lost a leg.

Photos from Wednesday's ceremonial groundbreaking show children in hard hats using shovels to dig dirt. Martin's Park, located next to the Boston Children's Museum at the Smith Family Waterfront,
is expected to open in the fall of 2018, according to a press release from the office of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

"This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids," Baker wrote on Twitter.

#MartinRichard lost his life to terror. This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids. pic.twitter.com/lYUTMyZNxV

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) August 16, 2017

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wrote on Twitter that the park will remind its visitors of "hope, compassion & love."

"Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park," Walsh wrote.

This park reminds us of hope, compassion & love a young boy taught us all. Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park. pic.twitter.com/w6Plokx6D7

— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) August 16, 2017

Both Baker and Walsh spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, as well as Martin's family.

Martin's sister, Jane Richard, said she knows that her brother is happy that the community is coming together.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.