American bison

About This Project

A giant survivor
The American bison is an impressive animal: up to 3.8 m long, 1.86 m tall, a huge head… And yet it can run at up to 60 km/h!

There were once millions of bison living on the North American prairie. But once the Europeans arrived, they hunted them in massive numbers and by 1890, there were fewer than 1000 left! Their numbers have been restored by conservation programmes and by rearing them for their meat, though the wild population is still threatened by habitat loss and cross-breeding with cattle.

Its cousin, the European bison, has also been decimated. Extinct in the wild by 1926, it is now benefiting from reintroduction programmes.

Latin name: Bison bison
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetartiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Size: 2.15 – 3.8 m long, 1.5 – 1.85 m tall at the shoulder
Weight: 320 – 900 kg
Lifespan: 20 years
Gestation: 9 months
Number of young: 1
Habitat: open prairie and savannah, mountainous regions
Diet: herbivorous
Distribution: western United States and Canada.
Conservation status: near threatened