Earlier this month, President Obama signed legislation naming the American bison as the US’ first national mammal. Also known as American buffalo and once numbering in the millions, bison were hunted to the brink of extinction in America. In recent years, they’ve made a comeback.
Here are our top five picks in five states to see bison roaming the plains.
#1: Wyoming – Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is the only place in the US where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.
#2: Montana – American Prairie Reserve. Bison are being returned to original habitat in Montana’s eastern plains grasslands. The reserve is now home to more than 700 bison.
#3: North Dakota – Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In 1956, 29 bison were brought from Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska and released in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Current population numbers are maintained at between 300-700 animals.
#4: South Dakota – Custer State Park. Home to an annual Buffalo Roundup, approximately 1300 bison roam freely through the state park.
#5: Colorado – Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Bison are the star attraction at this urban wildlife refuge just east of Denver. By the end of this year, the herd is expected to grow to more than 100 animals.