Texas Bison Are Unique
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The bald eagle has been the only national symbol for the past 234 years, but there's a push right now for bison to be recognized too. Bison may not be top-of-mind here, but Texas has hundreds of them.
Besides zoos, where do we find them?
There's a bison herd at Caprock Canyons State Park in Quitaque, which is in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo. One family started that bison herd in 1878, and their foundation has been credited with helping save bison from extinction. The bison were moved from another location to Caprock Canyons in 1997, and now they roam on 10-thousand acres there and paying park admission gets you in to see them. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says their DNA is different, and the genetics are not shared by any other bison in North America. In fact, they're the last "Southern Plains" herd standing.
There are more bison at San Angelo State Park in West Texas. That's also a spot with one of the largest Texas Longhorn herds.
There are several zoos that have bison too, including the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, as part of its North American exhibit.
Lawmakers are moving toward designating the bison as America's national mammal, with the National Bison Legacy Act and the Senate and the House officially agreed last week that these big animals play a central role in America's history. Once President Obama signs, it will become official, and that could happen this week.