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​America’s New Icon – The Bison


Meet America’s new national treasure...

You may or may not have heard, but the bison has recently become the official mammal of the United States of America. This week, President Barak Obama signed the National Bison Legacy, making the bison the official mammal of the USA.

Bison, also known as buffalo, are the largest terrestrial animal in North America. They are herbivores that graze on plants, grass and shrubs. You may recognise these beasts by their tough and sturdy bodies covered with their shaggy, brown winter coats. Bisons are distinct by their horns, which can grow up to 60cm long. They use these horns in defense and to contest their position within the herd. Bison’s also weight up to 1000kg - That’s a whole lot of bull!

Bison travel in herds and very rarely travel alone. After a few years of age, the male bison, also known as bulls, leave the females to go and find a male herd. Towards the end of summer, the males and females reunite just in time for mating and reproductive season.

The difference between American bison and European bison can be determined due to their ribs. The American species of bison have 15 ribs compared to it’s European counterpart, who only has 14. Bison are also surprisingly good swimmers. They are known to swim across rivers spanning almost a kilometre in length. With the size of their bodies, who would have thought!

The bison’s top predators include coyotes, wolves and bears. Thankfully, due to their extreme size, their predator list is limited. When a bison is attacked however, the attack is generally on a young bison calf or by a pack of wolves. This makes them vulnerable targets and easier to hunt.

Unfortunately, after the introduction of horses and guns, humans also became one of the bison's top predators. Bison hunting almost lead the beastly animal into extinction. Native Americans would use the mammal for food, clothing and shelter. This resulted in bison falling into the brink of extinction, with over 50 million killed by humans. Luckily, through the dedication of conservationists, they have made a comeback and are now thriving in most states around the US.

The bison's resilience through time has appointed them the position of America's newest national representative. The bison is the perfect animal for the Americans because they are an iconic image of the Old West and the Great Plains. Not only are bison tough and sturdy, but they have roamed around America for thousands of years and will hopefully continue to do so!

Move over bald eagle, there’s a new kid on the block!

How do I toilet train my cat

I rescued an adult female, desexed cat six months ago. Apparently she’s always been an outside cat. I have another cat who is mostly indoors and I would only let outside during the day if I was home. Luna didn’t like being indoors and wasn’t using the litter tray properly. I had her confined in the bathroom for a few days to get use to it and she would go next to it, rarely in it. She will sometimes use a tray otherwise will urinate or poop on the floor. I am at wits end. I have two trays, I’ve changed the type of litter, put dirt in the tray, picked up the poop and put it in the tray to show her that where it goes. I’ve used spray in the tray to attract her to want to use the tray. I bought felliway diffuser which is meant to calm cats and have also used the rescue remedy drops in her food. I’ve recently moved house where there is a cat enclosure so she can go in and out when ever she pleases but still goes in the kitchen (as I now close the bathroom door when she started going to the toilet in there), but tonight I noticed she’s been going in the spare room if anything is left on the floor which is carpeted. So I’ve now cleared that whole room to prevent her from going to the toilet. She is still going in the kitchen. I’ve tried cleaning the area and eliminating her scent by using water and vinegar then once dry use bi carb soda and hydrogen peroxide and it has made no difference. She’s been tested for a bladder infection which came up negative. I love animals. I have another cat which she now gets along with and two dogs which she is still getting use to. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to give her up but feel like I will have no choice.