If the bald eagle weren’t our ‘national animal,’ what would be the most popular choice for the role? The bison wins, according to a YouGov poll released Sunday, cited by 22 percent of the respondents. Mountain lions were in second place with 16 percent of the vote, followed by bears (12 percent), doves (11 percent), turkeys (9 percent) and rattlesnakes (3 percent.)
Skunks were in seventh place with a pungent 2 percent of the vote, followed by a squabbling stampede of squirrels, alligators, woodpeckers, who also feasted upon 2 percent, or bits of it, anyway. Badgers, beavers, raccoons, moose and coyotes each scrambled away with 1 percent of the vote, or a portion therein.
Nothing microscopic made the official list, though there was likely some waggish person among the 1,000 respondents who thought an amoeba or a diatom would be appropriate.
“The results would disappoint Benjamin Franklin, who pressed for the turkey to be the national animal of the United States,” observes poll analyst Peter Moore. Interestingly enough, turkeys were the third choice of history-minded Republicans, but fifth for Democrats.
Members of the National Bison Legacy Act Coalition, on the other hand, should be pleased with the findings. The organization - which includes 39 zoos, wildlife and conservation advocates, American Indian and academic interest groups - is promoting the National Bison Legacy Act.
The legislation, introduced before the Senate in 2011 by Sens. Michael B. Enzi, Wyoming Republican and Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat; and in the House by William Lacy Clay, Missouri Democrat, and Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska Republican, would designate the American bison as the “National Mammal of the United States.”