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Bison Pictures, Facts, and information

American bison


American bison

American bison

Bison


Bison

Two bison


Two bison

Herd of bison


Herd of bison
Bison
The American Bison (Bison bison) is the largest land animal currently living in the Americas.  Enormous herds of bison once occupied the American Great Plains, and were critically important to Native American Plains tribes as sources of meat, hides, horn, bone and sinew.
American Bison were hunted close to extinction by white settlers and the American military during the western migration, but they were given protected status and the population rebounded in the second half of the 20th century.  There are now substantial populations living in the United States and Canada; all the wild-ranging herds are found in state, provincial and national parks.  In addition, there are several herds owned by private ranchers.

Bison are herbivores, and their diet is almost entirely grass, though they will eat low-lying shrubs, and when winter snows are deep enough to prevent them from grazing they can subsist temporarily on the twigs and branches of bushes and shrubs.  They travel in large herds, with the exception of non-dominant males, who tend to form smaller groups.  These groups come together during the summer mating season, and males compete for access to the females.  Though the males charge and butt one another during these contests, serious injuries are rare. Bison do not fight to the death, the goal being not to kill the rival, but simply to establish dominance in order to gain access to mates.

Bison are raised domestically as meat cattle by some ranchers, and bison meat has been reintroduced to American consumers in recent years; it is generally used to replace beef.  Although not yet common, bison meat is a high-protein, low-calorie alternative to other red meats.  Ground bison has less fat and cholesterol per serving than ground beef, pork, lamb, chicken or turkey, and more protein than any of these except turkey.