It was 1861 when Kansas adopted its first state symbol – the state seal. State symbols come in various forms such as state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, amphibians, nicknames, flags, and much more. The Kansas state animal is the American buffalo (Bison bison).
State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, their geological makeup, their past, and present successes, and the ecosystem and habitats that make up each state. Like all other states, there are many Kansas state symbols that have been enacted over the years.
What is the State Animal of Kansas?
The elegant and powerful American buffalo has been the official Kansas state animal since 1955. It is not just the Kansas state animal, it appears on multiple state symbols for the state, with the most notable being the state flag and seal, where you can see a Native American tribe pursuing a herd of buffalo. Additionally, the American buffalo is the state animal for both Wyoming and Oklahoma.
The American buffalo is closely related to the European bison. They are both extremely close in size and stature too, standing at 6 feet tall and weighing up to 2,000 pounds. It will come as very little surprise that they are the largest land mammal in North America.
Kansas State Animal Facts
These buffalo once roamed the American prairie in the millions, which provided many resources for the Native Americans of the Great Plains during this time. Unfortunately, the European settlers hunted these buffalo to almost extinction.
When the federal government passed much stricter game hunting laws in 1889 there were only an estimated 500 buffalo in the wild. Nowadays, the numbers are much healthier.
- Bison are not only the Kansas state animal, they are also the national animal for the entire nation!
- At 6 feet tall and 2,000 pounds, these buffalo are easily the largest animal in North America.
- The famous Yellowstone national park is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since the prehistoric era! They are the closest descendants to the original bison that roamed around during these times.
- Despite being so large and heavy, bison can run at incredibly quick speeds. Reaching speeds up to 35 miles per hour!
- Surprisingly enough, you can find bison roaming around various states and territories, which all have their own extreme climates. Bison are truly built to handle the most extreme types of weather often found in parts of Canada. They can be found in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. In the U.S. you can find them in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Alaska, and Texas.
Most states will have their symbols showcase something very notable and memorable that is indicative of the state, and the Sunflower State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state animal.
This interesting fact about Kansas and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there, study in the state, are vacationing there, or are researching the historical events of Kansas.