American Buffalo

Kansas State Animal

KansasQuarterStatequarterKS.jpg

Kansas quarter

Kansas became the 34th state in 1861. The Kansas quarter features an American buffalo (official state animal) and sunflowers (state flower of Kansas); public domain image on Wikipedia. All State Quarters

Official State Animal of Kansas

The magnificent American buffalo (Bison bison) was recognized as the official animal symbol of Kansas in 1955. Native Americans pursue a herd of buffalo on the state flag and seal of Kansas, and a buffalo is featured on the U.S. Mint's bicentennial commemorative quarter representing Kansas. All State Mammals

A mature male bison can weigh over 1800 pounds and stand 6 foot tall at the shoulder. Buffalo once roamed the American prairie by the tens of millions and provided a way of life for the Plains Indians. European settlers hunted buffalo to the brink of extinction - it's estimated that between 300 - 500 animals remained when the federal government passed more strict game laws in 1889.

American Buffalo (Bison) Facts

Although commonly called buffalo since the late 1700's, the correct name is American bison. A close relative is the European bison.

It is estimated that up to 40 million bison once roamed in North America

In the past, bison were essential to the ecology of the Great Plains, creating habitat for other animals and plants by grazing and disturbing the soil.

Male bison can weigh up to 2000 pounds - they are the largest land animal in North America.

The tribes of the American plains relied on bison for food, shelter, clothing, and as a powerful spiritual symbol.

though they are not in danger of extinction, there are indications that the present populations are threatened by both genetic hybridization with domestic cattle (a result of efforts to breed a more robust “beefalo” breed in the early 1900s) and exposure to livestock diseases.

Kansas

Images

Bison / American buffalo; photo © James Ownby: My View of Nature (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Bison / American buffalo

Videos

Yellowstone National Park's Wildlife: Bison (Buffalo)