For more than two centuries, Americans have recognized the bald eagle as a symbol of the nation and its values, but the national bird may soon have to share that very high status. According to Popular Science, today, lawmakers in the House of Representatives will vote on a bill passed by the Senate last December to make the bison the United States's first national mammal.
The movement to have the bison (not to be mistaken with the buffalo) elevated to national mammal status through the National Bison Legacy Act (H.R. 2908) started five years ago, according to Bloomberg BNA. Then, a group called the Vote Bison Coalition, which brings together Native American tribes, conservationists, zoos, teachers, and others who feel that the animals are "the nation’s most culturally recognizable mammal, and as such, deserves recognition through designation and celebration" took up the cause.
"It's a long-standing survivor," Keith Aune of the Wildlife Conservation Society told Montana Public Radio. "And that's something we can all value is resilience."
There is support for the bill on both sides, and with the unanimous vote in the Senate, it looks like it may be time to start printing bison T-shirts and marking National Bison Day on your calendars (which would be the first Saturday in November).
[h/t Popular Science]