Category: bison

The American bison is our national mammal and a symbol of the Department of the Interior. Rugged and resilient, bison are surprisingly agile, able to jump fences and run up to 35 miles an hour. Recovering from near extinction, 17 bison herds can be found on public lands across the West. They are a wonder to see in the wild and we’re proud to feature them on National Bison Day. Photo of bison at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming courtesy of Travis O’Brien.

A bison roams the golden grasses at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado, one of our largest urban wildlife refuges. Only about 20 minutes from the Denver airport, take the 11-mile Wildlife Drive and keep your eyes peeled for bison, mule and white-tailed deer, hawks and waterfowl. Near the visitor center, you can learn more about the refuge’s population of endangered black-footed ferrets and the current conservation work. Whether you’re passing through Colorado or you call this place home, the refuge is yours to explore. Photo by Ian Shive, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Reflect on this. From an estimated population of almost 60 million animals roaming throughout North America, bison reached a low of 100 in the wild in the late 1800s. Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, the National Bison Range in Montana has played an important role in the successful recovery of these magnificent animals. Mostly rolling grasslands, the range is framed by mountain ranges and spotted with wildlife including elk, deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep as well as coyotes, mountain lions, bears, bobcats, over 200 species of birds and of course, majestic bison. Photo by Dave Fitzpatrick, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There’s just something special about this Colorado sunset. A herd of bison moves across the grassy plain as the setting sun bathes the valley at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The magnificent Rocky Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to the last bit of light of the day. Open sunrise to sunset, walk the refuge’s 10 miles of trails or take the 11-mile Wildlife Drive in your vehicle to see bison, deer, hawks, waterfowl and more. Photo courtesy of Bob Gjestvang.

Mastering the morning commute is all about timing and patience. With more than 4,000 bison at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, viewing them from inside the car is often the best and safest option. Just remember, these wild animals are unpredictable, and much like people in traffic, it’s best to give them space. Be sure to pull over and avoid blocking the road to watch wildlife, and please do stay in the car if you encounter one of these incredible “jams”.
Photo: A group of bison surrounds a car as they walk along the road towards Lamar Valley. By Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.

We’re kicking off National Park Week with a gorgeous scene from our first national park. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was established in 1872 to protect the area’s incredible natural scenery, unique geothermal features and wonderful wildlife. Every day, bison herds move through picturesque valleys and geysers erupt in towering clouds of steam. Each visit to Yellowstone – and all our national parks – is a chance to see something new and connect yourself to the natural world and generations of human history. Photo of steamy bison by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.

Mid-April brings a burst of wildflowers, choruses of frogs and also– baby bison! Nicknamed “red dogs” for the reddish color of their coat, bison calves can weigh anywhere from 30-70 pounds when they’re first born. This time of year offers plenty of tasty prairie plants for the growing calves. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado is a short drive from downtown Denver and provides a great place to watch our national mammal roam. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

You don’t see bison flake because of a little snow. During a winter storm, bison face the cold and take the winter elements head on, conserving energy as they hunker down and wait for snowstorms to pass. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is the only place where bison have lived continuously through American history, and they have a good handle on surviving tough winters. Photo by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.

Happy National Bison Day! Our national mammal is a shaggy symbol of strength and resilience. Public lands managed by Interior support 17 bison herds – or approximately 10,000 bison – in 12 states, including Alaska. Check out more interesting facts about bison: http://on.doi.gov/1Oc7VXg Photo of a bison at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.

President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Bison Range on May 23, 1908, when he signed legislation authorizing funds to purchase suitable land for the conservation of bison – making it the first time that Congress appropriated tax dollars to buy land specifically to conserve wildlife. Since then, the National Bison Range in Montana has played an important role in the successful recovery of these magnificent animals. Today, 350-500 bison call this refuge home. Photo courtesy of Bob Wick.