The American bison, the largest living land animal on the continent, came dangerously close to extinction at the hands of settlers. Prior to colonization, it is estimated that there were about 60 million bison across Turtle Island. By 1870, there were only 5 million, and in 1889, at the height of the great bison slaughter, there were less than 1,000 living individuals. Today, the American bison population is growing again, with approximately 30,000 bison living on public lands, and 500,000 on non-public lands.
Extermination of the American Bison