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Get Your Beards Ready for National Bison Day

National Bison Day is November 5, events are being held in communities and on social media to celebrate the national mammal.
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Once nearly extinct, the National Bison Legacy Act, designating the iconic animal as the United States national mammal was signed by President Barack Obama on May 9, 2016. Recognizing the bison as the national mammal was an important step for tribes.

“The recognition of the buffalo as the national mammal shows the cross-cultural stature of this iconic animal and for tribes will allow us to expand our work on reintroducing buffalo into our day to day lives,” said Jim Stone, executive director of the Inter Tribal Buffalo Council, in a statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society after the bill had made its way through Congress. “The buffalo has had a special place in the lives of tribal people since time immemorial and played important roles in our culture, religion and lifestyle. Now buffalo have become a part of the fabric of tribal life once again, created the foundation for an economic movement based on healthy food choices and provided conservation groups opportunities to expand the habitat for the species.”

Now, we are nearly upon National Bison Day, which has been passed by the U.S. Senate four years in a row and designated as the first Saturday in November, which falls on the 5th this year.

“National Bison Day has become an annual celebration of the ecological, cultural, historical and economic contribution of the U.S. national mammal, the American bison. Similar resolutions were passed in 2013, 2014 and 2015,” says the National Bison Association. “Native American tribes, bison producers, conservationists, zoos, sportsmen and women, educators and other public and private partners commemorate the National Bison Day by hosting events celebrating bison in their communities in dozens of states and participating on social media.”

One social media campaign is Beards for Bison, in which participants can either grow and showcase their own beard or print one and post a picture of themselves with #BeardsforBison to celebrate the iconic animal.

Keith Aune, WCS Senior Conservationist and Bison Program Director, noted how special this year has been for the bison. “This year’s National Bison Day will be extra meaningful as we now recognize bison as our national mammal. Bison have been part of the American landscape for many thousands of years and have shaped the ecological function of the Great Plains.”

Stone agreed, saying that: “Once again, Indian country is looking forward to celebrate National Bison Day as a testament to the iconic nature of the bison. Now as a national symbol, the standing of the bison in the eyes of the country is ever increasing and is fulfilling the dreams of tribal communities.”

RELATED: It’s Official: President Obama Designates Bison as National Mammal