The Wood Bison, scientifically known as Bison bison athabascae, is a majestic beast of the North that belongs to the Bovidae family. This mammal is known for its imposing size, massive horns, and shaggy coat. Although the Wood Bison may look similar to its cousin, the Plains Bison, there are distinct differences between the two subspecies.
Wood Bison have faced numerous threats throughout history, such as overhunting and habitat loss, which have caused a severe decline in their population. However, due to conservation efforts, their numbers have been increasing in recent years. In this article, we will explore the history, evolution, physical description, social structure, distribution, population, behavior, reproduction, diet, and relationship with humans of the Wood Bison.
Scientific Name and Classification:
The scientific name of the Wood Bison is Bison bison athabascae. This subspecies belongs to the family Bovidae, which also includes goats, sheep, and antelopes. Bison bison athabascae is one of two subspecies of American bison, the other being Bison bison bison or the Plains Bison.
The Wood Bison is a large, herbivorous mammal that belongs to the Bovidae family. They are characterized by their massive size, shaggy coat, and massive horns.
The Wood Bison has a long and complicated history. They once roamed across most of North America, from the Rocky Mountains to the eastern seaboard. However, overhunting and habitat loss caused their numbers to decline drastically in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, the Wood Bison was on the brink of extinction, with only a few hundred individuals left in the wild.
Evolution and Origins:
The Wood Bison is a descendant of the ancient bison, which roamed North America over two million years ago. Over time, the bison evolved into two distinct subspecies, the Wood Bison and the Plains Bison. The Wood Bison is believed to have evolved to survive in the colder, northern regions of North America, while the Plains Bison adapted to the warmer, southern plains.
The Wood Bison is a massive mammal, with males being larger than females. They have a shaggy, dark brown coat that is longer and thicker than that of the Plains Bison. Their massive horns can grow up to two feet long and are used for protection and dominance displays.
Wood Bison are social animals that live in groups, known as herds. These herds are led by a dominant male, who is responsible for protecting the group and leading them to food and water sources.
Anatomy and Appearance:
The Wood Bison is a massive mammal, with males being larger than females. They can grow up to six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Their shaggy, dark brown coat is longer and thicker than that of the Plains Bison. They have massive horns that can grow up to two feet long and are used for protection and dominance displays.
Distribution and Habitat:
The Wood Bison is found in northern regions of North America, primarily in Canada and Alaska. They prefer to live in areas with cold, snowy winters and warm summers. They inhabit a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and tundra.
Population – How Many Are Left?:
The Wood Bison population has been severely impacted by overhunting and habitat loss. In the early 1900s, there were only a few hundred individuals left in the wild. However, due to conservation efforts, their population has been increasing in recent years. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Wood northern forests as well as grasslands.
Q: Are Wood Bison endangered?
A: Yes, the Wood Bison is classified as a species of "special concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and is listed as threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act.
Q: Can Wood Bison be domesticated?
A: While Bison have been domesticated in the past, the Wood Bison is a wild animal and is not typically kept as livestock.
Q: Are Wood Bison dangerous to humans?
A: While Wood Bison are generally not aggressive towards humans, they are large and powerful animals and can be dangerous if provoked or if a person gets too close.
The Wood Bison is a majestic and iconic species that has played an important role in the ecological and cultural history of North America. While their populations have declined in the past, efforts are being made to protect and conserve them for future generations. As one of the largest land animals in North America, they are truly a symbol of the vast and untamed wilderness of the continent.