Assessing the Bison’s Threats to Survival

Assessing the Bison's Threats to Survival


The American bison, or “buffalo” as it is sometimes called, is an iconic animal that has been an integral part of America’s history. Today, the bison is considered to be an “umbrella species,” meaning that its well-being is indicative of the health of a larger ecosystem. Unfortunately, the bison is facing numerous threats that could have a devastating impact on its future.

Habitat Loss

The bison’s primary habitat is the Great Plains, which is the vast area of grassland stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, the Great Plains have been steadily shrinking due to human activity. Agriculture, development, and even energy production have all contributed to the destruction of bison habitat.


The bison is also vulnerable to a number of diseases, including brucellosis, tuberculosis, and anthrax. These diseases can spread quickly among bison herds, and can be fatal. Additionally, they can also spread to other species, including cattle and elk.


Historically, the bison was hunted almost to extinction. While hunting has been drastically reduced in recent years, it is still a threat to the bison population. Additionally, hunting has been linked to the spread of disease, as it can disturb the bison’s natural behavior and make them more susceptible to infection.

Climate Change

Climate change is also having a major impact on the bison’s future. Warmer temperatures and drier conditions can reduce the amount of forage available for the bison, as well as their access to water sources. Additionally, climate change can lead to an increase in the number of predators that prey on the bison, such as wolves and bears.

Protecting the Bison

In order to protect the bison and ensure its long-term survival, it is important to reduce the threats it faces. This includes conserving its habitat, managing disease, and reducing hunting. It is also important to address the effects of climate change, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting water sources.


The bison is a species that is intimately linked to the history of the United States, and it is important to ensure its survival. In order to do this, it is necessary to address the threats it faces, such as habitat loss, disease, hunting, and climate change. By doing so, we can ensure that this iconic species is able to continue to thrive in the future.

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