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This specimen is a large, male bison. They can grow to over one ton and run up to 40 MPH in short bursts. It is covered with a shaggy brown coat of fur that serves the animal well during the cold winters of the northern U. S.
This animal was driven almost to extinction during the exploration of the American West in the late 1800s. Today, there are numerous isolated herds, some under government management, and others privately owned. They range mostly from Utah north through Wyoming to Montana, with some in the Dakotas. There are also some herds in the western provinces of Canada.
Their name "bison" is the scientifically correct appellation. However, they are often referred to as "American buffalo." This is perhaps due to some passing resemblance to water buffalo, Asia and African, that had been seen previously by European explorers. Today, bison are also raised for their meat (lower in cholesterol and higher in protein than beef ) and hides.