As recently as 200 years ago, there were an estimated 30 million bison in North America. By the end of the nineteenth century, they were virtually extinct, wiped out by unregulated hunting during a westward expansion that also saw the eradication of the Plains Indians who relied upon them for food, shelter, and clothing.
Today, in places like Yellowstone National Park, the "buffalo" has staged a comeback and can be seen in growing herds once again. Perfectly adapted to the harsh winters on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, they clean snow from the grass they eat by swinging their shaggy heads back and forth, brooming away even deep drifts.
Here, in the middle of winter, a lone, large bull takes a brief look at me before continue to graze. His eye, reflecting sky and snow, appears blue. He was feeding on the crest of a small rise where late-day sun was beginning to touch him while the background remained mostly in shade.
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