If you’ve ever attended elementary school in the United States, chances are that you’ve heard of how many Natives’ lifestyles revolved around the buffalo. They used it for food, shelter, clothing, and therefore followed its migration pattern.
Then of course, with the introduction of the Europeans, the buffalo population declined rapidly. Well, all of this is true; except for the buffalo part. Buffalos are natives to Asia and Africa. The animals that are commonly mistaken for buffalos in America are actually bison.
Both buffalos and bison belong to the bovinae family, but vary largely in their physical structure, habitat, and temperament. These distinctions stem from the fact that the buffalo is domesticated while the bison is not. Bison have hairy fur coats on their bodies that grow out during the winter to protect them from their rugged environment.
Buffalo, since they live in more mild climates with human, have no need for this fur. Similarly, bison are able to survive in more extreme conditions than buffalo. Due to their rugged lifestyles, bison only live into their teenage years while buffalos can live until their 25-30 years old.
Furthermore, to correct your grade 4 history teacher, it is not the buffalo that’s endangered in North America because again, they don’t live in North America, and also they have a population of 150 million across the world. Instead, it’s the bison, with its total population of only 2 million.