Two centuries ago, there were around 40 million bison in North America. Overhunting decimated bison populations and by the 1800s, as few as 1,000 individuals remained.

Conservation Status

Source: SARA

Canadian Wilds Mini Map

You can find this animal in
Canadian Wilds

Learning Centre

When bison travel, they walk in single file.

Important Facts

You scratch my back

Bison spend a lot of time grooming – rubbing themselves on trees so much they tear off the bark and leave the trunk smooth.

Baby bison

Bison babies, called calves, can walk and run within a few hours of birth, but bison moms still keep a close eye on their calves and will charge at any intruders. Young calves have red coats, but turn entirely brown in four months.

At a Glance

Scientific Name

Bison bison athabascae


545 – 818 kg (1,200 – 1,800 lb)


Conservation Status



Grasslands, meadows and open prairie of North America


Herbivore. Wood bison graze on prairie grasses year round, but when food is scarce they will eat lichens (a type of fungus) and moss. In the winter they dig in the deep snow, sweeping their muzzles from side to side to reach buried plants.