Today naturalist Mark Fraser introduces us to a new film on the American bison, a once prevalent animal that is now near threatened, according to The IUCN Red List of Threateend Species.
Mark says the American bison is the largest land animal in all of North America, with wood bison bulls weighing over a ton. The species is also commonly referred to as "American buffalo." Mark, however, points out that they are not closely related to the animals also called buffalos that live in other parts of the world.
"Bison live to approximately 25 years of age," Mark continues. "They have two coats: an inner layer of warm fur and also a thick 'guard coat' on the outside."
"The young bison calves are absolutely full of youthful energy and can stand within 30 minutes and run within a few hours of birth," he says. "This is a survival adaptation, since predators like wolves and bears would make a quick meal of a calf if they can catch one. Mother bison protect their young by staying in the herd and when there is a bull nearby they will help defend the herd from predators."
"Watching them as the sun begins to set, I noticed they seem to be more active at dusk and would almost always be running full sprint chasing and playing with other young calves. They are weaned in a little over 6 months from their birth that usually occurs between April and June."
In the below film, you can see bison family life up close, along with viewing how these enormous animals sometimes also impact human life, such as what happens during bison-caused traffic jams.