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Portrait of an American Bison

📸 by Tom Murphy via @afsalliance

Also known as buffalo, they once roamed North America in vast herds.

They nearly became extinct by a combination of of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle.

With a population in excess of 60 million in the late 18th century, the species was down to 541 animals by 1889.

Recovery efforts expanded in the mid-20th century, with a resurgence to roughly 31,000 animals today, largely restricted to a few national parks and reserves.

Bison are among the most dangerous animals encountered by visitors to the various North American national parks and will attack humans if provoked.

They appear slow because of their lethargic movements, but can easily outrun humans; bison have been observed running as fast as 40 mph (64km)