Plains Bison

Taxonomic name: Bison bison bison

Type: Mammal

Conservation Status: Near Threatened (global - IUCN); Extirpated (Manitoba)

Wild Range: Great Plains (prairie, grasslands) of North America

Diet: Herbivore: Grasses, leaves, and steams

Longevity in the wild: 15 years

Size: 180 - 200 cm high at the withers

Weight: 400 - 1200 kg

Group Name: Herd

Over 200 years ago, up to 40 million bison roamed the North American Great Plains, but were overharvested to near extinction in the late 1800s as settlers moved onto the prairies. Reintroduction and breeding efforts have avoided complete extinction of the species, but only a fraction of these once huge herds remain. The bison is the provincial symbol of Manitoba, selected in 1870 to represent the Indigenous people who live in the area and the pioneer history of the province.

Find the Zoo's bison herd in the Boreal section near the Zoo entrance.