WESTMINISTER, Colo., July 13 (UPI) -- Western lawmakers and bison ranchers are proposing the U.S. mint temporarily restore the Buffalo Nickel to celebrate the revival of bison herds.
The U.S. Agriculture Department confirmed more than 232,000 buffalo in private herds last month, in addition to an estimated 50,000 bison in public herds and 150,000 in Canada. That's a dramatic comeback for a species that was nearly extinct 100 years ago.
Fewer than 1,000 buffalo were alive in 1900, even though more than 70 million roamed the North American continent before 1600.
"The original buffalo nickel honored a heritage that was nearly lost," said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. "This new proposal celebrates the fact that bison are once again a growing part of the American landscape.
The "heads" side of the original Buffalo Nickel minted in 1913 featured a portrait of an American Indian. The "tails" side was a 1,500-pound bison named Black Diamond.