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US President Donald Trump makes remarks as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Vice President Mike Pence listen at the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images)

In the 1500s, an estimated 30 to 60 million North American bison —or buffalo— roamed the Great Plains of North America. But over hunting brought their numbers down to just 325 wild bison left in the United States by 1884.

But thanks to conservation efforts, the United States official national mammal recovered to 20,000-25,000 wild bison on public lands and at least 250,000 bison in private herds by the end of the 1990s. Much of the work was done thanks to laws like the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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