Butte, Montana by J. A. Elliot
“A Daring Act” by E.M. Hegglund Pierre S.D.
“American Bison. New York Zoological Park”
“Copyrighted – New York Zoological Society, Publishers.
Quadri-Color Co., New York”
Original vintage color lithograph postcard, c. 1910
On Loan from the Galerii
Daily Press Wisconsin Feb 16 1910
BUFFALO RAPIDLY BECOMING EXTINCT
……It is probably that during the present session of congress there be a renewal of the effort to have the national government establish and maintain a herd of American bison, or buffaloes as the nucleus for the preservation of this picturesque native animal which is in such grave danger of extinction.
……The wanton slaughter of the buffalo during the previous generations has reduced the number of these animals running wild to less than 25, most of which are roaming Yellowstone park, whereas 25 or 35 years ago there were millions of bison grazing on the plains of the west. Practically all of the bison in existence estimated at a few more than 1,700 are now owned by private individuals except those owned by the national park at Banff, the few in Yellowstone park and those in various zoological gardens.
According to the census of living American bison, compiled by William T. Hornaday, director of the New York zoological park and president of the American Bison Society, there was on January 1, 1908, a total of 1,722 bison in captivity, of which 1,115 were in the United States. 476 in Canada and 130 in Europe, besides about 300 wild bison in Canada and 25 in the United States. Most of these animals are under the control of 45 private owners in the United States and 19 in Europe. During the five years from 1903 to 1908 there was a total net increase of 603 head, which number has been somewhat augmented during the last two years.
……The national movement for the permanent preservation of the buffalo began in June 1904, when Ernest Harold Baynes went to live on the border of the Corbin game preserve in New Hampshire, which strange as it may seem to those accustomed to think of the west as the sole habitat of the buffalo, has for many years been the home of one of the largest herds of buffaloes in the world. Mr. Baynes became deeply interested in these splendid creatures and in the fate of their race and soon sought to arouse public interest in the matter. President Roosevelt took immediate and active interest in the subject. As a result the movement took form on December 8, 1905, when the American Bison society was organized in New York City. Hon. Theodore Roosevelt was made honorary president, William T. Hornaday president, Ernest Harold Baynes of Meriden, N.H., secretary and Clark Williams of New York, treasure.
The purposes of the society are outlined in the following extracts from Baynes of Meriden, N. H., secretary, Ernest Harold Baynes.
……“The American Bison society was organized in the strong belief that the people desired to have the buffalo preserved and that they would give their support to a body of men able and willing to work indefatigably for its preservation.
……“The five or six million buffalo which less than 35 years ago caused the western plains to tremble beneath their hoofs and which constituted one of the wonders of the world have vanished and there remain to represent them some six or seven hundred head, exclusive of those in the zoological gardens, which do not count when we come to the question of the preservation of the species. Most of these are in a few widely scattered bunches, only two of which the Corbin herd at Newport N.H., and the Pablo herd on the Flathead Indian reservation, Montana, contained over 100 head. Of this little remnant of the wants mighty host not a single animal is safe, every owner in the country is willing and some very anxious to sell and I doubt if there is a herd in the country which would not be sold tomorrow morning if a customer appeared with the money. In the large herds there is another menace to the race-contagious disease, to several forms of which the buffalo is subject, though less so than domestic cattle. If tuberculosis or the hoof and mouth disease should attack one of the three or four comparatively large bunches the fate of the buffalo might be sealed then and there, as even now the number of herds is so small that it will probably require careful management to prevent excessive inbreeding.
……‘That there are good economic reasons why this animal should be saved and allowed to increase in numbers shorn of all sediment and as he stands on his hoofs he is the most valuable native animal in this country; kill him and there is no domestic animal in America whose carcass will bring as much in dollars and cents. The meat is as good as domestic beef and some parts of it rather better, while the hide alone will sell for money and now to purchase three or four good cows. I fine head is worth much more and although the value of heads would probably decrease as buffaloes became more numerous, there would always be a good market for the skins, as for many purposes we have nothing quite so good.
……“Let every man, woman and child who has love or sympathy for American animals joined hands in saving for the country the grandest of them all. Although on the brink of extermination, this rugged and typically American character must be saved; it can be saved and, with the support of the people, the American Bison society is prepared to do the work which will be necessary to save it.”
THE CITIZEN, Sept, 28 1910
The Wellsboro Gazette, Pa. Aug 17 1910
STARTING A BISON HERD
Uncle Sam Has Three in All Now,
Numbering 161 Animals.
……It is only within the last few years that people have awakened to the fact that if the American buffalo were not going to disappear from the face of the earth something would have to be done to preserve the species. There was a time when the whole Northwest of North America, as well as parts of the South, were thickly tenanted by wandering herds of these big clumsy looking, woolly animals. The Indian used to hunt them, and use their meat as well as the hides and horns. The beef was good eating, and the red men dried it into a kind of pemmican. The skins made comfortable robes and close in the hides were turned into huts and boats. And so the buffalo was a useful fellow to the red men, who hunted him fair and square in the open and killed in rational numbers, so that the stock was never really diminish.
……But it took the white man- the civilized white man-to do the work. When he came into possession of the New World he went at it. The buffalo were hunted and trapped in millions. Sometimes an animal was killed and just one slice of steak taken from his hump, the rest thrown away to be eaten by coyotes. As short a time ago as seventeen or eighteen years there were stacks of buffalo horns and bones piles along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway- for all the world like old stump fences, only much higher. Between 1855 in 1865 the slaughter was so great that by 1870 the species had all but disappeared from the continent.
……The people began to think. Naturalist and men of science generally wanted to see the bison, or buffalo, saved from extinction, and they set their heads together to try to accomplish this end. Small remnants of herds still lived in secluded mountain fastnesses and prairie wilds, and a few stray animals had been captured and were living in captivity. To set apart a tract of land specially for the use of the defrauded monarch of the plains, just as reservations have been made for the Indians, was the thing decided upon. And so there are several parks in existence now where the great bison has full sway, and runs things to suit himself.
……The American Bison Society is the leading force in the movement to preserve this American species of animal. The big work undertaken in accomplished by the society since its beginning about three years ago, has been the buying and establishing of the Montana national bison herd.
The first thing the society did was to send out Professor Morton J. Elrod, of Missoula, Mont., to examine available sites with an eye to finding a spot suitable for a bison park. After a careful search a tract of land covering some 29 square miles was hit upon. It is a splendid range, extending over mountains and valleys rich in bunch grass and fringed with dark green foliage- just such haunts as the natural while bison would choose for himself are to be found within its limits. The Jacko and Flathead rivers wind about sides of the tract, giving rocky variety to the scenery. So, having selected a spot that it wanted, the society when about having Congress appropriate money to buy it. Through Sen. Joseph M. Dixon this was done. The cost of buying the range and been seen it in with a been strong enough to keep the buffalo within amounted to $40,000.
……The society had pledged Congress in return for this expenditure to buy a herd of buffalo as a nucleus. So it when about raising $10,000 for that purpose. Having done this, the next step was to secure the animals. Several private owners of bison had promised to contribute beasts, until ten were assured. A buying committee was then appointed in the business of buying buffalo was made a real business.
……At Kalispell not far from the range selected, was a herd of bison bounded by the late C. E. Conrad and managed by Mrs. Alicia D. Conrad, after her husband’s death. After much considering and talking and making of prices, to say nothing of examining the animals in selecting the best a purchase was finally made of 34 buffalo. These were the pick of the 92 contained in the Conrad herd.
…….There are 95 bison in the Yellowstone Park reservation, nineteen at Wichita and 47 on this Montana range, making a total of 161 head owned by the United States Government in choosing these animals care was taken to pick specimens that were of absolutely pure blood and free from disease. It is supposed that the Montana herd alone, and that within our time, would be enough to save the bison race from extinction and to make up to the United States for the loss of the Pablo herd to Canada.