Their mating habits are polygynous: Dominant bulls maintain a small harem of females for mating. Individual bulls "tend" females until allowed to mate, following them around and chasing away rival males. Homosexuality— including courtship and mounting between bulls—is common among bison. The Mandan nation Okipa festival concludes with a ceremonial enactment of this behavior, to "ensure the return of the buffalo in the coming season." (Bruce Bagemihl, Whole Earth, 2000) See Homosexuality in animals. Calves are born with a light brown fur coat which darkens as the animal matures. One very rare condition results in the white buffalo, where the calf has an entirely white coat. It is not to be confused with albino, since pigment still exists in the skin, hair, and eyes, and the animals will end up with a brown-colored coat as they mature. White buffalo are considered sacred by many Native Americans.














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Pile of bison skulls, 1870sBison were central to the lifestyle of Native Americans of the Great Plains. Before the introduction of horses, buffalo were herded into large chutes made of rocks and willow branches and then stampeded over cliffs. These buffalo jumps are found in several places in the US and Canada. Bison were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century; as few as 750 bison existed in 1890. The Bronx Zoo maintained a remnant herd, from which populations were re-established in Yellowstone National Park (whose indigenous herd had been reduced to a few dozen animals) and other wildlife preserves, beginning early in the 20th century. Some of these came from Charles Goodnight's ranch in the Texas Panhandle. A variety of privately-owned herds have also been established, starting from this population.


Above Images Come From The US Fish & Wildlife Service



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