During your car journey in the park, you will discover the bison. This is the largest ungulate; males may reach a weight of approximately one ton. Its weight and considerable strength make it a dangerous animal even without aggressive intentions. Males and females live together only during summer season. The female gives birth to a calf at a rate of every 3 years on average.
Were once on the brink of extinction with the West conquest and the railway construction (around 1870-1880), where the killing of bisons was a large-scale economic enterprise but also a strategy to starve the Indians. Buffalo Bill (William Frederick Cody) was one of the greatest bison hunters. This unending hunt at the end of the XIX century, in addition to the brucellosis epidemics from Europe, almost led to the complete extinction of this species. At the beginning of the West conquest, we could find hundreds of thousands of heads around in 1890-1900. Out of them, only 1 thousand remained.
At the end of the XIX century, a few middle class women mobilized against bison slaughter: they strived to save the species by publishing articles and by engaging politicians. In 1905, “The American Bison Society“ was founded. Its aim was to protect the survivors and to grow the population.
Today, there are 200 to 300 000 bisons living in zoos, wildlife parks, provate breeding (for the meat) and natural reserves (in USA and Canada).