Jack Dykinga/Agricultural Research Service

Bison set to become U.S. national mammal

It was once driven to the verge of extinction, but the American bison is now set to become the national mammal of the United States, NPR reports. The animal would become the first U.S. national mammal under legislation passed by the House of Representatives and Senate last week, which is now awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature. The bison is an iconic animal for many Americans—it is the mascot of several universities, featured on the state flags Kansas and Wyoming, and has even graced the nickel. Though tens of millions of bison were estimated to roam North America before European settlement, aggressive hunting drove their total numbers to 325 by 1884. After the first successful reintroduction of a mammalian species to the wild, there are now about 500,000 bison spread across every state.

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