Animal Americans Nearly Killed to Extinction Now a National Symbol

Young bison bull standing in grass, autumn
The bison. Photo: Eastcott Momatiuk/Getty Images (bison); Martin Ruegner/Getty Images (flag)

It’s time to meet your new national symbol, America: the bison. On Monday, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act, which officially designated the animal as the first National Mammal. Congress (which, apparently, can agree on fauna) passed the bill last month to honor the massive and majestic beasts, which roamed North America since prehistoric times, and almost died off completely because of overhunting and habitat destruction as America pushed West. The species was saved after intensive conservation efforts. Previous national-symbol title holder the bald eagle will not be demoted, but instead will have to share the spotlight with the bison from here on out. 

Bison Is Now America’s National Mammal