In 1911, William T. Hornaday was hard at work in his efforts to protect birds from unnecessary slaughter. The Bayne-Blauvelt Bill (more commonly known as the Bayne Bill) to prevent the sale of wild American game in New York State had recently passed in July of 1911. The Bayne Bill, said by journalists at the time to be the most important measure for the protection of game brought before New York legislature, was a notable victory for Hornaday and wildlife conservationists alike. The law prohibited the sale and importation for sale of any species of wild game, regardless of where it may have been killed. The bill passed by the state senate 38 to 1 and unanimously by the assembly. However, there was still much to be done in the fight to protect wildlife. Continue reading
In the United States, bison once roamed in numbers greater than 20 million. However, over the course of the nineteenth century, the bison population plummeted to barely a thousand due to settlers, railroad development, and hunting.
Although some thought the extinction of the American bison was an inevitable effect of civilized expansion into the West, many others believed that this symbol of American strength and power deserved a chance to thrive. In 1905, members of this latter group came together at the Bronx Zoo to found the American Bison Society with the goal of preventing the extinction of the American bison; the organization’s first success came in 1907 when they sent 15 bison by railway from the Bronx Zoo to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Preserve in Oklahoma to restore the western Plains’ depleted bison population. Continue reading
Actually, the Bronx Zoo, formally known as the New York Zoological Park, was slated to open July 15, 1899. But heavy snowstorms the previous winter halted construction on the park for nearly four months. Indeed, by July 15, there was still much work to be done, as a To Do list held in the WCS Archives shows. From “Plan new water and sewers” to “Order birds and reptiles, generally,” a flurry of activities was underway. Continue reading