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THE NORTH AMERICAN BISON Factors that almost led to the extinction of the buffalo One of the factors that almost led to the extinction of the buffalo was over hunting Humans sometimes hunted buffalo for food but mainly just for fun In fact by the 1800s the species was nearly wiped out Nowadays buffalo thrive once again due to strictly regulated hunting laws In some parts of the country there are some fields in which buffalo may be hunted recreationally but for the most part you must have a license to hunt them Predators and Disease Another factor that decreases the population of buffalo are predators Buffalo have many predators including Grizzly bears black bears gray wolves and cougars The Grizzly bear is especially deadly but there arent many of them in buffalo territory Gray wolves rarely pick out a healthy buffalo to kill They mostly attack the young the sick and old buffaloes Diseases also affected buffalos status Bovine tuberculosis and bucellosis were probably the main diseases Bucellosis came from European cattle Buffalo also experienced sudden outbreaks of anthrax a disease caused by a bacterium in the soil Animals that were exposed to it usually died within days Habitat and Eating Habits Buffalo have eating habits similar to cattle They eat grasses sedges and other forage In the winter they feed mostly on bushes and plants Buffalo have a great influence on their habitat because they travel in such large herds They love to wallow in shallow ponds and streams Their main habitat is the prairie but they will graze in nearby open fields when the prairie grasses are in short supply Ways Scientists Ensure the Survival of Buffalo Scientists have done many things to ensure the survival of the buffalo They have created many preserves across the US A preserve is an area of land in which buffalo are fed and sheltered and
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