Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

The Bison of Yellowstone, six peaceful minutes in the Great Plains

Watch more with these video collections:

Three hundred years ago, the Great Plains were home to a vast herd of bison—”iinniiwa in Blackfoot, tatanka in Lakota, ivanbito in Navajo, Kuts in Paiute.” These magnificent animals roamed the grasslands from the Arctic Circle to Mexico and from Oregon to New Jersey, in numbers ranging from 30 to 60 million.

American bison are essential to the ecology of the Great Plains, a keystone species that plays a critical role in the ecosystem’s health. Bison help keep the vegetation in check, and “wallowed, rubbed, pounded, and grazed the prairies into heterogeneous ecological habitats.” From the University of Nebraska:

“They converted vegetation into protein biomass for predators, including people; and they shaped the way fire, water, soil, and energy moved across the landscape.”

a young bison
Above, CBS Sunday Morning shares four and a half quiet minutes of the bison living freely within Yellowstone National Park. Turn the sound up. Find another 1.5-minute video below.

In addition to their ecological importance, bison are also a vital part of the culture and history of the Native people who live across the North American plains. For generations, bison provided food, clothing, shelter, and tools, were represented in spiritual rituals, and continue to be revered as symbols of power and strength.

bison in yellowstone
In the 19th century, hunting and habitat loss decimated the bison population, and by the end of the century, only a few thousand bison remained in the wild. However, bison populations have rebounded thanks to united conservation efforts. Via

“Approximately 30,000 bison live in public and private herds in North America; they are managed for conservation goals. Approximately 400,000 bison are raised as livestock however, wild bison are rare. Yellowstone bison represent the best example for preservation of wild plains bison in North America.”

In the wordless Yellowstone video below, bison and their calves graze and nurse in an open field:

young bison calf

Watch these excellent related videos next:
How do bison help fight against climate change?
Buffalo ≠ Bison
• How do Yellowstone Bison survive harsh winters?

Plus: Why do we need national parks?

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Why do we need national parks?

Rion Nakaya

The Grand Prismatic Spring: One of Nature’s Most Amazing Sights

Rion Nakaya

The Geysers of Yellowstone National Park in action

Rion Nakaya

The Burrowing Owl’s Cozy Underground Home

Rion Nakaya

The ‘Bear Bathtub’ in Yellowstone National Park

Rion Nakaya

Prairie dogs squeak in the South Dakota Badlands

Rion Nakaya

How do Yellowstone Bison survive harsh winters?

Rion Nakaya

How do bison help fight against climate change?

Rion Nakaya

Geysers and Springs of Yellowstone

Rion Nakaya