With House Vote, We Are One Step Closer to Declaring the Bison – the U.S. National Mammal – The First National Mammal Ever for the U.S.
Historic House Vote Takes Place on 121st Anniversary of WCS – One of the Original Partners Who Prevented the Extinction of the Bison in Early 1900’s
WCS Applauds Bi-Partisan House Passage of National Bison Legacy Act; Urges Senate to Take Action
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“The National Bison Legacy Act is a milestone in a long journey by WCS, its flagship Bronx Zoo, and many other partners to prevent the bison from going extinct and to recognize the bison’s ecological, cultural, historical and economic importance to the United States.” Cristian Samper, WCS President and CEO
WASHINGTON (April 26, 2016) – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the National Bison Legacy Act, leaving only Senate passage and President Obama’s signature to officially make bison the National Mammal of the United States.
The following statement was released by Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society:
“The Wildlife Conservation Society, including its flagship zoological park, the Bronx Zoo, and all our partners in the Vote Bison Coalition are grateful to the U.S. House of Representatives for working to pass the National Bison Legacy Act. The National Bison Legacy Act, once enacted, will declare the bison as our nation’s first national mammal ever.
“Once declared the U.S. National Mammal, the bison joins the oak (national tree – designated 2004), the rose (national floral emblem – designated 1998) and the bald eagle (national emblem – designated 1782 at the 2nd Continental Congress) as official symbols of America. The bison will serve as a great national symbol for the United States as it is as strong as the oak, fearless as the bald eagle and inspiring as a rose.
“The National Bison Legacy Act is a milestone in a long journey by WCS, its flagship Bronx Zoo, and many other partners to prevent the bison from going extinct and to recognize the bison’s ecological, cultural, historical and economic importance to the United States. Today, bison is found in all 50 states.
“We are particularly appreciative to the leadership of Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), and Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), who championed the bill in the House, along with many co-sponsors from both parties. This bi-partisan effort was key to galvanizing support across the ideological spectrum.
“As a steering member of the Vote Bison Coalition, along with the Inter Tribal Buffalo Council, National Bison Association, WCS is proud to celebrate the bison as an American icon that represents the highest ideals of America: unity, resilience, and healthy landscapes and communities.
“The comeback of the bison is linked to WCS’s history, as President Teddy Roosevelt and the American Bison Society began this effort by shipping 15 animals by train from WCS’s Bronx Zoo to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Thus began America’s first conservation success story. It is fitting that the House voted on this legislation today, as it is the 121st Anniversary of WCS. WCS honors this legacy of the patriarchs of conservation today by supporting bison recovery in the American west.
“We now hope for swift action on the National Bison Legacy Act in the U.S. Senate, so that the bison can take its well-earned place as an official national icon.”