A Bison or a Buffalo?

If you want to see the potential damaging effects humans can have on animal populations – and the important role conservation efforts can have to reverse them – just take a look at the North American bison.

More commonly (and somewhat mistakenly) called buffalo, bison once roamed the continent in huge numbers, perhaps as many as 50 million animals in vast herds from northern Canada to Mexico, and from the Rockies almost to the Atlantic coast. But after the arrival of European hunters, those numbers plunged to as few as 500 bison.

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Thankfully, special efforts were made to save them from extinction. Game farms and reserves like Marineland served as sanctuaries until their numbers could be increased, and now the population has rebounded into the hundreds of thousands.

The next time you visit Marineland, take a moment to visit the bison, picture what it would have been like to see them all across the plains in centuries past, and think about what we almost lost without the efforts of animal conservationists.