This week, President Obama signed a law making the bison the US’s first national mammal. To celebrate this momentous event, we’re looking back on the history of protection for the American bison with a blog post over on Medium. Check it out here:
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