The American bison is commonly known as American buffalo. They are native to North America and their massive heard use to rule the grassland of America. Bison is herbivorous and grass comprises more than ninety percent of the diet. It is also the largest mammals of North America. There are two species of bison among them one is the Bison bison which is the National mammals of America.
Due to intensive hunting and introduction of the disease by the domestic cattle, their population has steeply declined and they are on the verge of extinction. The conservation efforts have made the comeback and now they are in the least concern category by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
They have reached the massive speed of 64 kilometers in one hour. They tend to travel merely 3.2 kilometers in a day (1).
The weight of the American bison can grow up to one thousand kilograms during maturity (2). The weight of the domesticated bison is higher than the wild. Domestic bison can reach the weight of more than 1,700 kilograms.
3. Gestation Period
The gestation period is around 285 days and the calf stays with the mother for 18 months.
4. Life Expectancy
Life expectancy is observed to be around 15 years under the wild condition whereas in the captivity the life expectancy increases to 25 years.
Due to the mass slaughtering of the American Bison in 1889, only about 541 individual was left in the wild (3). These results in the decrease in the genetic diversity and have created the inbreeding depression. These make the organism highly susceptible to the disease of different kinds.
6. Commercial Harvesting
Commercial harvesting of the bison is mainly done for the meat. The bison meat is lower in cholesterol and higher in protein content.
7. Natural Predator
Wolves are the natural predator of the American Bison. Wolves tend to attack the herds with the calf in it. Hunting in the pack makes the successful killing. Grizzly and brown bear, coyote are also their natural predators.
Like other buffalos found around the world. The behavior of the bison is highly unpredictable. It can charge without giving warning of any kind. These strongly necessitate keeping the adequate distance between them.
1. McHugh, T. (1958). "Social behavior of the American buffalo (Bison bison bison)". Zoologica. 43: 1–40.
2. Meagher, M. (1986). "Bison bison" (PDF). Mammalian Species (266). Retrieved on 19 December 2016.
3. Hornaday, William T. (1904). The American Natural History. New York: C. Scribner's Sons.