Honoring the bison as America’s national mammal

In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, the Senate unanimously passed legislation designating the American bison as the country’s national mammal, in recognition of the bison’s historical and contemporary significance. The bill, which passed through the House Tuesday, will now head to the White House for approval.

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    And now for our "NewsHour" Shares, something that caught our eye that we thought might be of interest to you too.

    The American bison is poised to become the first national mammal of the United States, thanks to a bipartisan act of Congress. The Senate passed the National Bison Legacy Act by unanimous consent last evening, following the House's approval Tuesday.

    The act will designate bison, also known as buffalo, as a national emblem in honor of their historical and contemporary significance. Tens of millions of bison once roamed the nation's Great Plains and other regions. But hunting, ranching and western expansion decimated the population, and bison numbers dwindled to less than 1,000 by the start of the 20th century.

    They have since rebounded though, with nearly a half-a-million bison currently living in wild and commercial populations. More than 50 conservation, ranching and tribal groups supported the new designation, even though the act won't impose any new protections on the animals. The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.

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