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8 animals pulled back from the brink of extinction

June 25, 2014, 1:58 p.m.
American bison

Photo: Jack Dykinga/Wikimedia Commons

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American bison

The American bison once defined the North American landscape, roaming in massive herds of tens of millions from Alaska to Mexico. But as commercial hunting increased and domestic bovine diseases were introduced into wild bison populations, the species declined sharply. Modern conservation efforts are helping bring this iconic creature back from the brink of extinction in the wild, however. Today, roughly 500,000 bison remain in North America, and about 20,000 of those roam the wild, mostly within the protective borders of national parks like Yellowstone.