Efforts under way to declare bison the "national mammal"



     SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - U.S. senators from the Dakotas are making another attempt at having the bison declared the national mammal.
 
     Sens. Tim Johnson and John Thune of South Dakota and John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are among those introducing the National Bison Legacy Act on Wednesday. The bill is backed by the Intertribal Buffalo Council and the National Bison Association. 
 
     Similar legislation introduced in 2012 stalled in Congress.
 
     Tens of millions of bison once roamed most of North America, but overhunting reduced the population to about 1,000 animals by the turn of the 20th century.  Conservationists including President Theodore Roosevelt saved the species from extinction in 1905 by re-establishing herds in Oklahoma, Montana and South Dakota.
 
     About 400,000 bison now roam pastures and rangelands across North America.

     
 AP-WF-06-11-14 1236GMT

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