|An American bison|
It has been recently announced that a group of lawmakers in the western U.S sought to raise the status of the American bison to that of the bald eagle with a law to declare the shaggy beast as America's national animal. Advocates of the bison established a "vote bison" public relations campaign on Friday to accompany the law. The legislation, known as the National Bison Legacy Act, was brought to the Senate and is supported by lawmakers from the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming. It is said that the measure would not provide added protections for the estimated 20,000 bison in North America, and that the bald eagle would still hold the position as a national emblem as declared by the Second Continental Congress in 1782. However, supporters of the bill stated that it would afford overdue recognition to a species that has a wide-ranging cultural and ecological importance. According to Senators Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Tim Johnson of North Dakota, the bison is an unsurpassed symbol of the U.S, its people, and way of life.
|These bison were transported to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in the state of Montana.|
I'm completely amazed that there is a plan of naming the American bison (nicknamed "buffalo") as the nation's national animal. This is very special because over the years during my stay in the U.S, I had only heard the bald eagle was the national symbol of the nation. But now, the bison is on the verge of being given the same position as the eagle. And I think it is something that is worth giving. The American bison has for generations played a significant role in the culture of the Native American people in the U.S. They not only regarded these majestic beasts as their staple food source, but also worshipped them as gods and spirits. However, when the early settlers flocked into the U.S from Europe, they competed with the Native Americans and nearly wiped out tens of millions of bison across the country. This then led to conservation efforts to bring the bison back from the brink of extinction and as the years progressed, the bison population swelled up to an estimated half-million animals residing in national parks and private ranches across the western U.S.
|About sixty bison were brought for the benefits of the Native American people.|
In recent times, there have been issues regarding free-roaming bison herds in America. The most notable issue has been in Montana, where livestock producers and property rights advocates filed lawsuits to stop the spread of animals which ranchers say can break down fences, spread disease and compete with cattle for grazing. The most recent issue occurred this week in Boulder County, Colorado where city officials refused a proposal from media mogul Ted Turner to donate a bison herd for viewing purposes along U.S Highway 36. However, one of the "vote bison" campaign sponsors, John Calvelli of the Wildlife Conservation Society, stated that the plan was meant to surpass political concerns and mark the animal's place in the culture history of America. Other sponsors of the movement are the Intertribal Buffalo Council, which includes 57 Native American tribes and the National Bison Association. In addition to that, the Interior Department is also active in the project to bring the bison back onto public lands, including Badlands National Park and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota and Colorado's Great Sand Dunes National Park. I feel that this is truly a path to a momentous occassion for the U.S and its people, and hopefully this new bill will come into effect.
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