Where can we find bison?

Two surviving species of bison are found in America and Europe. They are called the American bison and the European bison. The American bison, also known as the buffalo or the plains buffalo, is native to North America. The European bison, also called ‘wisent’, is native to Europe.

The American bison lives in the Great Plains (USA) and can weigh between 400 and 1,270 kg. The wisent lives in woodlands and is taller than the American bison but less heavily built. It can weigh between 800 and 1000 kg.

Before settlers took over the land, millions of bison roamed free in North America. By the late 1800’s bison were hunted almost to the edge of extinction. Today, due to conservation efforts, the bison population is slowly showing signs of recovery in North America.

The European bison became extinct in most parts of Europe during the Middle ages. A small population existed in the Caucasus Mountains and over the years, due to captive breeding programmes, was reintroduced into the wild. Today, the European bison is found in Poland, Germany, France, Lithuania and Switzerland. The largest population is found in Poland.

Bison are nomadic grazers that feed on grass, herbs, twigs and leaves. Even though they look heavy, they are agile and fast, and can reach speeds of 65 km/h. They spend the warmer part of the day resting or rolling in mud and taking dust baths! Bison calves are red in colour and are sometimes called ‘red dogs’ in America due to this. Bison are unpredictable and can stampede upon the least provocation. It is best to give them space and respect their boundaries.

Picture Credit : Google

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