The sad story of the decimation of the American bison is well known. When European settlers arrived in North America, bison ranged from New York State in the east to Washington and Oregon in the west, and from the Yukon and Northwest Territories in the north to Central Mexico in the south. From over 50 million individuals, hunting brought the number down to just a few hundred, although due to conservation efforts and private herds this number is now approximately 150,000. Nevertheless, there is no home for the bison to roam in North America anymore, and even if the various planned herds are kept safe and healthy, that won’t change. Ranchers fear that the free-ranging bison will infect their cattle herds with brucellosis (a bacterial infection) which out of fairness they probably should since this disease was originally given to the bison by the introduced nonnative cattle. The largest native North American land animals, bison can weigh over a ton and have a reputation for being dangerous, but my own personal experience with bison indicates that they are adorable, gentle, lazy creatures with soulful teddy-bear eyes. But even if they were dangerous and aggressive toward humans, really, could you blame them?
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