American Bison Our National Mammal

Born in America, Destroyed in Yellowstone National Park

On May 9, 2016 President Barack Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law recognizing the American bison as our country’s National Mammal.

Unlike the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act which protects our national bird, the National Bison Legacy Act contains no provision to protect our National Mammal.

Since 2000, Yellowstone National Park has destroyed 5,473 wild bison in capture for slaughter operations conducted inside the park at Stephens Creek.

Scientists have warned that Yellowstone’s genetically distinct subpopulations are being disproportionally killed warranting “serious reconsideration of current management practices.”

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End the Slaughter Paid for by American Taxpayers

There is no public transparency disclosing how American taxpayer money is used to destroy our country’s National Mammal.

But according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, American taxpayers are footing the bill – millions of dollars every year – to destroy bison. (GAO Expenditure Table - Image)

One of a Kind, The Last of Their Kind

Unlike most bison you see today, the bison in Yellowstone retain the intact genetic legacy of their ancestors.

Once roaming the Appalachian mountains to the Gulf Coast marshlands, Mexico’s Chihuahuan desert, across the Great Plains, west of the Rocky Mountains, and north into Canada, bison have been reduced to less than 1% of their original habitat.

Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have continuously roamed their original habitat – a span of time reaching back 10,000 to 12,000 years. (Canadian Encyclopedia Historic Range Map - Image)

Yellowstone Has A Choice To Terminate The Plan

There is no excuse for these atrocious actions, which are heavily opposed by the vast majority of Montanans, U.S. Citizens, Native peoples, and the millions of people who come to Yellowstone each year to be in the presence of our country's National Mammal.

In this video Superintendent Wenk speaks in a Park released video of how wrong and unfair to the bison this plan is. Remind him he has the power to stop the plan...

  • Yellowstone is not beholden to either the state of Montana nor the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

  • Yellowstone has not been court-ordered to kill the wildlife the public has entrusted in your care.

  • Within the Interagency Bison Management Plan's Executive Summary, it is written:  "... the agreement provided that any agency could terminate the agreement by providing a 30-day notice to the other parties that the agency would withdraw from the agreement."

  • Yellowstone has a choice.  Terminate the Plan and not our National Mammal.


Tell Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Stop Killing Yellowstone’s Iconic Buffalo!

Please join us in telling Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to pull Yellowstone out of the Interagency Bison Management Plan, end the slaughter and domestication, and take a stand for the country's most important bison herds.

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Standing with Our National Mammal the American Bison

You can stand up for our National Mammal by supporting Buffalo Field Campaign the only nonprofit group advocating for the protection of bison and their habitat in the field, in the courts, and in the policy arena.

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New York Times, Obama Signs Law Making Bison the First National Mammal, (May 9, 2016).

President Obama signed a law on Monday making the bison — tens of millions of which once roamed North America — the country’s first national mammal. Read more...

National Bison Legacy Act, Pub. L. No. 114–152, 130 Stat. 373 (May 9, 2016).

“Sec. 3(b) Rule of Construction.–Nothing in this Act or the adoption of the North American bison as the national mammal of the United States shall be construed or used as a reason to alter, change, modify, or otherwise affect any plan, policy, management decision, regulation, or other action by the Federal Government.” (Download PDF)

Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay, U.S. Congress Passes Clay’s Legislation Recognizing Bison as National Mammal of the United States, (April 27, 2016).

“No other indigenous species tells America’s story better than this noble creature. The American bison is an enduring symbol of strength, Native American culture and the boundless western wildness. It is an integral part of the still largely untold story of Native Americans and their historic contributions to our national identity. I was proud to sponsor and help pass this legislation in the House and I truly appreciate this show of bipartisan support from my Senate colleagues as well.” Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri.

Chris Geremia et al., Status Report on the Yellowstone Bison Population, (September 2017).

The 5,473 bison destroyed by Yellowstone National Park excludes bison captured for quarantine and population control experiments, bison that died in captivity, bison shot in management actions.

Natalie D. Halbert et al., Genetic Population Substructure in Bison at Yellowstone National Park, Journal of Heredity, Advance Access published (Feb. 8, 2012).

“The continued practice of culling bison without regard to possible subpopulation structure has the potentially negative long-term consequences of reducing genetic diversity and permanently changing the genetic constitution within subpopulations and across the Yellowstone metapopulation.”

U.S. Government Accountability Office, YELLOWSTONE BISON, Interagency Plan and Agencies’ Need Improvement to Better Address Bison-Cattle Brucellosis Controversy, Report to Congressional Requesters (March 2008).

Federal and Montana state agencies have long been entangled in controversy over bison leaving Yellowstone National Park. Some of these bison, as well as elk and other wildlife, have a contagious disease called brucellosis, which can cause pregnant animals to abort. Read more...

Philip W. Hedrick, Conservation Genetics and North American Bison (Bison bison), 100(4) Journal of Heredity 411–420 (2009).

“Many conservation herds have cattle ancestry because of hybridization promoted by these ranchers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. . . . Only 1 conservation herd with no known ancestry from cattle [Yellowstone] has an effective population size of more than 1000.”

Eric W. Sanderson et al., The Ecological Future of the North American Bison: Conceiving Long-Term, Large-Scale Conservation of Wildlife, 22(2) Conservation Biology 252-266 (2008).

“Best estimates are that bison currently occupy <1% of their circa 1500 historical range.”

C. Cormack Gates, et al., The Ecology of Bison Movements and Distribution in and beyond Yellowstone National Park, A Critical Review with Implications for Winter Use and Transboundary Population Management, (Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, April 2005).

“Bison occupied the region encompassing the park from shortly after recession of the last glaciers 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, until they were nearly extirpated by market and subsistence hunting, and poaching by 1900.”