Tuesday, July 1, 2008

National Animal: American Buffalo

The American Buffalo (Bison) is an awesome animal. It is strong, loyal, tough, and always faces a storm head on. No wonder it has emerged into a symbol of strengh for America.

'Buffalo' is something of a misnomer as this animal is only distantly related to either of the two "true buffaloes", the water buffalo and the African buffalo.

The bison originally inhabited the Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada in massive herds, ranging from the Great Slave Lake in Canada's far north to Mexico in the south, and from eastern Oregon almost to the Atlantic Ocean. To learn more about this animal, view my previous bison posts.

The American bison is often used in North America in official seals, flags and logos. In the U.S., the American bison is a popular symbol in the Great Plains states. Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming have adopted the animal as their official state mammal, and many sports teams have chosen the buffalo as their mascot, including the University of Colorado Buffaloes.

Several American coins feature the bison, perhaps most famously on on the reverse side of the "buffalo nickel" from 1913 to 1938. In 2005, the United States Mint coined a nickel with a new depiction of the bison as part of its "Westward Journey" series. The Kansas and North Dakota state quarters, part of the "50 State Quarter" series, each feature bison.

No comments: