Our nation is about to get a new national animal. It’s bigger than you might imagine and definitely different than the reigning champ, the bald eagle, but we never would have expected this.
America’s national animal has been for 234 long years the bald eagle. It has been the sole symbol of the United States, land of the free, home of the brave.
But now it seems that there is a new beast in town that will become an American symbol for years to come.
The new contender? The Bison. The National Bison Legacy Act was passed by Congress and is expected to pass the Senate next week. According to CNN, the act denotes the bison as America’s national mammal and a “historical symbol of the United States.”
While the bald eagle will still represent the nation, it will no longer be the sole animal to hold that position. The bison will join the bald eagle as the national animal, the oak as the national tree, and the rose as the national flower, and will become the new national mammal for the country.
The move, however, will not come with any special protections for the bison. A representative for the Wildlife Conservation Society says that it is a “milestone in a long journey … to prevent the bison from going extinct and to recognize the bison’s ecological, cultural, historical, and economic importance.”
This is also significant considering that the bison is “as strong as the oak, fearless as the bald eagle, and inspiring as a rose.”
They forgot to mention as tasty as a cow … but that may go against their conservation efforts.
“No other indigenous species tells America’s story better,” said Missouri Rep. William Lacy Clay, one of the men who sponsored the bipartisan bill. It’s “an enduring symbol of strength, Native American culture, and the boundless Western wildness.”
This is not the first time the bison has been held in high regard. It is already the state mammal of Wyoming and the state animal of Oklahoma and Kansas.
The bison was pushed to the brink of extinction in the late 19th century, but now they number 400,000 in commercial herds across the country with another 30,000 in the wild.
So hats off to the new national mammal; we have no beef with the bison.
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