Four members of the House have proposed legislation that would make the North American bison the national mammal of the United States.

Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) proposed the bill, H.R. 3400, along with Reps. Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryIn the wake of ISIS: Seeking to restore what is right and good for the Yazidis Fortenberry named chairman of legislative appropriations subcommittee in House The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Tensions mount for House Republicans MORE (R-Neb.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.).


Their bill finds that bison — often called buffaloes — are an "historical symbol" of the United States. The mammals had to be saved from extinction more than 100 years ago, in the early 20th century, according to the bill.

It notes that Congress passed a resolution marking Nov. 2, 2013, as the second annual National Bison Day.

"There is a growing effort to celebrate and officially recognize the historical, cultural, and economic significance of the North American bison to the heritage of the United States," it reads.

On Wednesday night, Clay spoke at a Wildlife Conservation Society event, along with members of the Inter-tribal Buffalo Council and the National Bison Association.

"This legislation … symbolizes the renewed respect and admiration that we feel as a nation for the magnificent Native American culture that was almost lost," he said. "The bison is a living symbol of the United States."

The bill concludes by saying, "The mammal commonly known as the 'North American bison' is adopted as the national mammal of the United States."