The American bison (Bison bison), also commonly known as the American buffalo or simply buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds. They became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle, and have made a recent resurgence largely restricted to a few national parks and reserves. Their historical range roughly comprised a triangle between the Great Bear Lake in Canada's far northwest, south to the Mexican states of Durango and Nuevo León, and east to the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States (nearly to the Atlantic tidewater in some areas) from New York to Georgia and per some sources down to Florida. Bison were seen in North Carolina near Buffalo Ford on the Catawba River as late as 1750.
About 500,000 bison currently exist on private lands and around 30,000 on public lands which includes environmental and government preserves.According to the IUCN, roughly 15,000 bison are considered wild, free-range bison not primarily confined by fencing. In 2009, bison were reintroduced to the Janos Biosphere Reserve in northern Chihuahua; this is the only free-roaming herd on Mexican federal land. Efforts to bring back the bison population have recently reintroduced bison to Indiana, which included the introduction of a herd consisting of 23 bison. In 2014, U.S Tribes and Canadian First Nations signed a treaty to help with the restoration of bison, the first to be signed in nearly 150 years.
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