The bison, an animal once hunted to the brink of extinction in America, is set to become the first national mammal of the US, putting it on a par with the bald eagle as a symbol of the nation.
Congress has passed legislation, the National Bison Legacy Act, which names the hoofed beast as a “historical symbol of the United States” and establishes it as the nation’s landmark mammal.
Once the bipartisan move passes the Senate and receives Barack Obama’s sign-off, the bison will join the bald eagle, the national emblem since 1782, as America’s symbolic animal. America’s flora is represented by the oak, the national tree, and the rose, the national floral emblem.
The designation is a “milestone” in the effort to “prevent the bison from going extinct and to recognize the bison’s ecological, cultural, historical and economic importance to the United States”, said Cristian Samper, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
“The bison will serve as a great national symbol for the United States as it is as strong as the oak, fearless as the bald eagle and inspiring as a rose,” Samper added.