Monday, 25 April 2016: the Pioneer Fringe posted Bison bison bison: What’s Worth Protecting?
Tuesday, 26 April 2016: the United States House of Representatives passed the National Bison Legacy Act (R. 2908). I’m not saying my blog had anything to do with it, but…
In all seriousness, though, the National Bison Legacy Act is designed to establish the Plains Bison (Bison bison bison — aka, the American Buffalo) as the official national mammal of the United States, raising bison atop a symbolic pedestal on-par with the Bald Eagle. Passing the HoR is a huge win and its Companion Bill (S. 2032) passed the Senate last December but a committee comprised of both House and Senate members must resolve differences between the Companion Bills (if any) and the final result must still be signed by President Obama before it becomes law.
But what does this Bill mean for bison?
The National Bison Legacy Act is primarily a symbolic gesture and does not grant new protection or designated recovery zones to the Plains Bison. However, if the federal government agrees to publicly and politically recognize the Plains Bison as a key species of both national heritage and environmental recovery, the Bill may lead to an even brighter future for the bison, other creatures that depend upon the bison, the land on which bison depend, and the creatures that depend on the land on which bison depend. In this way, the Bill may have a positive cascading effect throughout the Great Plains. Perhaps, that’s optimism verging on naivety. But here’s hoping.
Writing on the National Bison Legacy Act, the World Wildlife Fund states that the Plains Bison, nearly wiped from existence in the 19th Century, and the monumental efforts of 20th-Century conservationists to restore the Plains Bison to its natural habitat “serves as an important reminder that we can change the course of history when we work together to save an imperiled species.” What we create and preserve, what we achieve now and leave behind will be our own legacy. The bison’s legacy is a facet of that legacy. Let it be proud.
World Wildlife Fund – “A symbol of hope: US government designates bison as the national mammal” (This article gets a little ahead of itself. The Bill has a few more hoops to jump through before it becomes law.)
The Grist – “The Bison is Back and Better than Ever”
Write Your Representative at Vote Bison
The United States House of Representatives – The Legislative Process: How are Laws Made? (WWF might want to take a look at this. Just saying…)