Written By: Andrew Connolly
When you think of the United States of America and its conservation legacy, what might come to mind? Is it the sprawling forests that used to cover the east coast? Is it the passage of the Endangered Species Act 50 years ago? Could it perhaps be the long and complicated story of the American Bison, the peoples of the nation, and the path to national mammal status?
The American Bison, a species so special and unique that its scientific name, Bison bison, already demonstrates how unique of an animal it is. American Bison used to range from Alaska down to the Mexican border, and from the Nevada Basin to the eastern Appalachian Mountains. So how did a species that numbered in the millions, and spanned almost an entire continent come close to extinction and then come back again? It took great loss and pain, followed by a period of education, growth, and activism for education, activism, and cooperation pave the path to success and growth. To learn more about this path, the United States of America must also confront its dark past with colonization.