NEW YORK (KMOV.com) -- Congressman Lacy Clay is being praised by the Vote Bison Coalition for his recent introduction of a bill, that if passed, would designate the bison as the official mammal of the United States. The move would be a symbollic one to recognize the bison's significance to American history, culture and conservation.
The Wildlife Conservation Society says the National Bison Legacy Act would recoginize the importance of bison to Native American culture, its importance to the grassland ecosystem, its importance to private bison producers, and as a symbol to the American West.
Bison used to roam the plains of North America by the millions before nearly being wiped out by settlers in the nineteenth century. According to a press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society, bison numbered only around 1,100 in the early 1900s. In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt and William Hornaday of the New York Zoological Society (a previous name for the Wildlife Conservation Society) formed the American Bison Society to help replenish the bison population.
The press release also states that Clay's bill has broad bi-partisan support in both chambers of Congress.