The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan 14 1912
BROOKLYNITES TAKE LEAD IN GAME PRESERVATION
Prof. Franklin Hooper is president of National Bison Association
PLAN HERD FOR NEW YORK
Many Persons Prominent on Long Island Belong to Society That Fosters Animals.
It came out at the annual meeting of the American Bison Society, held at the American Museum of Natural History, in Manhattan, on Thursday last, that as a result of the efforts of the society, the number of bison in existence has increased from 1,300 to 2,750 in a period of four years.
Professor Franklin W. Hooper, director of the Brooklyn Institute, is the president of the society, and it is largely due to his work during the last year that it was possible to report at the recent annual meeting that “the outlook for a steady increase in the number of buffalo in this country was brighter now than it had been at any previous period in the history of the organization.”
Prominent Men and Women Are Interested in the Work of Buffalo Preservation.
The membership of the American Bison Society is scattered all the way from Maine to California. Managers of the organization had succeeded in interesting intelligent men and women, in nearly every state and Territory in the Union, in the American bison, which, previous to the organization of the society, was fast being exterminated. On the board of managers are such men as Charles L. Brinesmade of Columbia Heights, Brooklyn; Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of New York zoological Park: A. B. Hepburn, president of the New York Chamber of Commerce; Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn of Columbia University; Dr. T. S. Palmer of the Biological Survey, Washington; Rear Admiral Peary and Ernest Thompson Seton. On the membership list appear such names as John D. Archbold, Andrew Carnegie, Austin Corbin, R.W. Goelet, William D. Sloane, August Belmont, Jr; William Dutcher, Frank Lyman, Ralph Pulitzer, Caspar Whitney, Augusta B. Birdsall of Glen Cove, L.I.: Ms. Helen Van Wort and Miss S.I. Van Wort, both of Sands Point, L.I.
When President Hooper presented his report for a 1911 he made the following suggestions to the board of managers:
“That the society seeks to establish in the immediate future a bison herd on public lands in one of the Dakotas, preferably in South Dakota, with the cooperation of the National Government, and with their approval of representatives of those States in Congress. That the society renew its efforts at the first practical opportunity to establish a State herd of bison either in that Adirondack Mountains, or in the new Hudson River Park in the State of New York. That the society encourages the establishment of State herds of bison on State lands in other States where the bison formally ranged. That in consideration of the pre-eminent and efficient services of Dr. Hornaday as president of the society during the first years of its organization, a new order of membership he created – that the honorary members, and that Dr. Hornaday be elected as the first honorary member of the society.”
New York State Financially Unable to Raise Bison Herd.
By reason of the financial situation in the State of New York due to the burning of the Capital at Albany and other causes, it was found to be impossible to establish a herd of buffaloes in the Adirondacks. This fact was brought out at the recent annual meeting. Professor Hooper emphasized the fact in his annual report read at this meeting that the increase in the number of buffalo in this country of 111 percent, justified the managers of the society in feeling very much encouraged.
It was also shown at the annual meeting of the Bison Society that along with the work of preserving the buffalo from extinction, the society is performing efficient service in encouraging the conservation of other kinds of animals. Dr. Hornaday spoke of the Snow Creek Game Preserve on the Missouri River in Montana as the last refuge of the antelope. It happens to be also the best grazing land for the buffalo in that region. The managers of the Bison Society voted to endorse and recommend the suggestion that the Snow Creek Game Preserve be procured as a location of a herd of buffalo.
Austin Corbin Was a Pioneer in the Preservation of American Big Game.
Austin Corbin, who during his life was the president of the Long Island Railroad, was a pioneer in the work of preventing the extermination of the American bison, as well as other big-game. A description of Corbin Park, near Newport, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, is one of the features of the last printed report of the Bison Society.
“The idea of buying up Craydon Mountain and the 300 farms which surrounded it, of fencing it with a nine-foot wire fence, and of stocking it with healthy, purebred specimens of the disappearing North American big-game, was a bold conception even for the late Austin Corbin, a man world-famous for his bold conceptions. And he not only conceived the idea, he carried it out to the last detail, and more than twenty years ago established a game preserve the like of which cannot be found anywhere else in the country even today.
“It was in 1890 that the farmers working in the field near the road between Newport and Crydon Flat, stopped their oxen for a minute to gaze in wonder at a passing herd of the strangest “cattle” they had ever seen. Great blown beast they were, with burly, horned and bearded heads, short, powerful necks, high, rounded humps, and short tails, ending in a tuft of hair.
They were the Corbin herd of bison, on their way to their new home in the Blue Mountain Forests.
“ The herd thrived and increased in till 1896, when it numbered seventy-five head. Then it got the one great setback of its entire history. Under an arrangement with the City of New York, twenty-five head were sent to Van Cortlandt Park, with the head keeper in charge, but (owing to the bad water it is thought), they became so diseased that they all either died or had to be killed – one third of this fine little band wiped out at a single stroke. The remaining fifty head continued to thrive an increase until 1905, when they numbered about one hundred and seventy five head. This was high watermark. The ever increasing expense of maintaining a large buffalo herd in a climate like that of New Hampshire, where the animals have to be fed on hay for five months in the year, finally forced the owners to the conclusion that there was a limit to what they could wisely do toward preserving the race of bison from extinction. Since then they have sold upwards of a hundred and fifty buffaloes, but there has been such a healthy increase of the stock retained that there are still over hundred head in the preserve.”
Success of Bison Society Prompts Formation of Organization for Indian Preservation.
The success which has followed the efforts of the American Bison Society has prompted a number of scientist and others to protect an __________for the preservation of the American Indian, his customs, habits. A meeting has been held in Washington and another in Manhattan. Professor Harper is very much interested in this movement also.
Escanba Morning Press Jan 17 1912
HOW CANADIANS GOT BISON FROM INDIAN
Washington, Jan. 16 – Here is a story of how the Canadian government, by a striking coup, secured the greatest herd of bison in captivity and by returning them to an immense preserved tract in their native haunts on the plains of the great West have arrested natural extinction with such complete success that within a few years they anticipate processing a huge herd of these animals.
The story of how the deal was consummated and how the United States lost a great opportunity of becoming possessed of one of the finest animal attractions in the world constitutes an interesting romance.
When the slaughter was at its height, some thirty years ago, a Flathead Indian, known as “Walking Coyote,” made a raid into the plains of Alberta, and as a result of his buffalo hunt secured about twenty prime beast, which he sold to another half-breed Indian of his tribe for $2000. Michael Pablo, the new owner of the animals, is a shrewd businessman, even for an Indian. Realizing that the bison in its natural state would soon become a thing of the past, he turned them loose upon the Indian reservation in Montana, leaving them to wander and roam of their own free will over an area of some fifty square miles. By freeing them in this manner, and protecting them against destruction he concluded that they would propagate freely, since the conditions were highly conducive to such a result.
When the United States government took the bison under its protective wing it could not acquire Pablo’s herd, as it was the private property of an individual, and the Flathead was at liberty to deal with his animals just as he felt disposed. He himself was under the protection of the government, but that did not apply to his stock, and so he felt perfectly secure.
But one day Pablo received disquieting news. He was informed that the United States government had decided at an opportune moment to throw the Indian reservation open to settlement. When that happened what was he to do with his herd? He decided to offer the whole stock, just as it was, to the authorities, hurried to Washington and expressed his readiness to sell. The government offered to relieve him of his stock at $15 per head. Pablo refused hotly and laughed at the simonious offer.
At this juncture things took a sudden turn in his favor. Howard Douglas, the Commissioner of the Canadian parks, had heard about Pablo’s wonderful herd and was cognizant of the American negotiations. He forth with hastened to Ravalli to open negotiations with the Indian for their acquisition. It was a delicate task, as Pablo, who could not speak a word of English, viewed the English-speaking race with extreme suspicion, heightened by the treatment he had received negotiations were very tedious, as the Indian the was still in treaty with the United States government, but the deal was clinched in three months, when Mr. Douglas offered to take the whole herd of 600 head at least at $200 each, making $120,000 for the whole consignment. The bargain was struck and Pablo signed a contract undertaking to hand the animals safe and sound to Mr. Howard at the point of shipment. Pablo chuckled with the light for he had accomplished wealth suddenly, and his foresight in buying up “Walking Coyote’s” twenty buffalo nearly thirty years before had paid him handsomely. Today Pablo is reckoned with the varitable Croesus among Indians.
The Coffeyville Daily Journal, KS, Mar. 22 1912
Last Stand of the Buffalo
by Walter Noble Burns in the Saturday Evening Post
Only eight hundred buffaloes were left to live in the world in 1895. Big earmarked the minimum numbered strength of a race of animals whose former population in North America has been estimated at sixty millions. The last eight hundred buffaloes alone stood between the species and utter extinction. If by any chance these few survivors had been wiped out of existence the buffalo would have become one forever with the dodo and mastodon.
By so slight of tenure did the buffalo clean to racial existence that preservation seemed forlorn hope; but the buffaloes rallied in their last-ditch. The tattered remnants of the once mighty herds began slowly to increase. Today it is possible to assert confidently that the crisis is passed and the future of the buffalo is assured.
Within the past few years the United States and Canada have established herds of buffaloes on Government ranges that reproduce as nearly as it is possible to do under fence the conditions under which the buffalo lived in the wild freedom of prairie days. Left to themselves in the spacious pastures, the buffaloes, may be depended upon to work out their own salvation-slowly but surely.
The United States now possesses three buffalo parks. These are the Wichita national bison range and Western Oklahoma, the Montana national bison range in Northwestern Montana and the fenced-in range in Yellowstone National Park. Canada is breeding buffaloes in Rocky Mountain Park at Banff, and in Elk Island Park; but it’s great buffalo nursery is at Wainwright’s in Alberta, where it has established the most extensive fenced-in game preserve and the largest herd of buffaloes in the world. The herd now numbers more than a thousand head.
Opportunities We Have Lost
the policy of the United States in dealing with problem of buffalo preservation has been marked by niggardliness and a woeful lack of sentiment and spirit. It is to the American Bison Society that all the credit must be given for putting the buffalo in this country on a safe footing for the future. The original herds in all three national parks have been gifts of the Government. The nucleus herd in Yellowstone Park was the gift of C.J.”Buffalo” Jones –Jones, who purchased the animals and had them transported at his own expense to Yellowstone Park. The nucleus herd on the Wichita range was the gift of the New York Zoological Park. The nucleus herd on the Montana range was the gift of the American Bison Society.
“However, if the United States led one magnificent opportunity slip through its fingers it still has a chance to redeem itself. The American Bison Society is now in the midst of a vigorous campaign to induce Congress to establish a fourth national buffalo park in the Pack Hills country of South Dakota. A survey of the land has been made under the direction of the society. The proposed site includes the Wind Cave National Park and adjacent lands, with a total area of seventeen thousand acres. Of the park is established the Bison Society will present to the Government a herd of not fewer than twenty-five buffaloes.
Right at hand for the stocking of the new park is the Philip herd, at Fort Pierre, South Dakota, now the largest herd in the United States. The herd was bred by the late James Philip from five buffalo calves captured in a haunt on Grand River in 1881.
With the establishment of the park in South Dakota, but one other important detail in the American Bison Society’s general scheme for the national preservation of the buffalo will remain to be accomplished. That is the transformation of Antelope Island, in Great Salt Lake, Utah, into a national buffalo park. The island is twenty miles northwest of Salt Lake City. It is about sixteen miles long, from one to five wide, and contains between 25,000 and 30,000 acres. Officers of the American Bison Society have looked it over and declared it would make an ideal buffalo range. It is a mountainous island containing fine natural pastures for summer and winter grazing, and it is abundantly watered. A herd of buffaloes numbering about one hundred at the close of 1911 runs wild upon the island. Both island and buffaloes are owned by Mr. John E. Dooley, of Salt Lake City. The movement to convert the island into a government park has progressed far enough to warrant the belief that within the next year or two it will be added to the nations buffalo pastures. It is to be hoped the entire Dooley herd will be purchased and kept upon the island. If Congress cannot see its way clear to do this the herd is so small that it’s purchase price unquestionably could be raised by a vigorous conduct campaign of popular subscription.
Here are figures which were obtained by myself in the fall of 1911 from Warden and superintendents of national parks, or are estimated, the estimates been carefully based on the last census of the American Bison Society and upon my own knowledge of the number of breeding cows in the herds. These figures, so far as they go, are really the census figures for January 1, 1912:
Montana National Bison Range………………………..70
Wichita National Bison Range…………………………30
Yellowstone Park-in captivity-estimated…………….140
Philip herd, South Dakota…………………………….300
Antelope Island herd Utah, estimated………………..100
Goodnight herd, Texas-estimated……………………140
Conrad herd, Montana-estimated……………………..60
Corbin herd, New Hampshire…………………………120
Pablo herd, Montana- estimated………………………80
Other government parks in Canada-estimated………..80
United States owned privately or scattered among
city parks and zoological collections- estimated……388
It is difficult for the modern American, whose knowledge of the buffalo is confined largely to specimens and zoological gardens, to realize the vast numbers that formally inhabited North America. In its former range the buffalo touch tidewater along the Atlantic coast in Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia, it’s northeastern limit was in New York at the eastern and of Lake Erie, its southeastern near the mouth of the Altamaha, in Georgia. It never was found in Central or Eastern New York, Canada east or north of the Great Lakes, the states of New England, Central or Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Florida. It made its home in all the other states east of the Mississippi River, with the possible exception of Michigan. West of the Great Lakes its habitat was bounded by a lying extending from Chicago northwesterly to Great Slave Lake, then southwesterly to the Rocky Mountains. The buffaloes overflowed into British Columbia through passes in the mountain rampart north of the international boundary. They were found in Idaho, on the slopes of the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon. In northeastern Nevada, the northeastern Oregon, in northeastern Nevada, the northeastern half of Utah, and Colorado and in New Mexico as far west as the Rio Grande del Norte. They extended into Mexico as far south as the twenty-fifth parallel. From the southwestern limit of their range to the delta of the Mississippi they were abundant. They never reached California and, so far as known, never glimpsed -even distantly-the blue waters of the Pacific.
A Shameful Carnival of Butchery
the extinction of the buffalo is the most murderous and shameless chapter in the history of man’s dealings with wild brutes. Buffaloes were in Western New York in 1800 and in Ohio as late as 1812. They were practically extinct east of the Mississippi River by 1820. A few stragglers slain in Wisconsin in 1830 where the last buffaloes killed east of the great river. The country between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, the Rio Grande and the Great Slave Lake, was one great buffalo pasture, it is estimated that it held forty million buffaloes in 1800.
The advent of the railroads marked the beginning of the end for the Western buffalo. The Union Pacific divided the buffaloes into two great divisions known thereafter as the southern herd and the northern herd. The to herds withdrew farther and farther from the terrible iron horse and deadly hunters who swarmed along its sinister steel train, and they never were reunited.
By 1871 the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe and the Kansas Pacific railroads had been built, both through the heart of the southern range, open and its remotest corners to Eastern markets. As if they itself had marked the buffalo for quick extermination, their breech loading rifle reached perfection at this time. The buffalo range suddenly became bonanza land and the inrush of hunters has never compared to the stampede to that Californias goldfields in 1849. Good shots could kill from forty to sixty animals the day, and hide sold at one dollar and twenty-five cents. Merchants in the railroad towns grubstaked and outfitted hunting parties. Dodge City, Wichita and Leavenworth became centers of the buffalo trade. The chief business of the entire country became the destruction of the buffalo.
Still hunting was the method employed. From the crest of a ridge, from an arroyo, from behind a clump of sagebrush, the Hunter opened fired. So long as he remained concealed the buffaloes would not run. They would look Kearsley at each puff of smoke and bellow as they sniff the blood of their dying comrades, but stupidly remain to be picked off one by one until the last had fallen. It was no more he a sportsmen’s game than killing beeves in an abattoir with a sledgehammer. It was business pure and simple, murderously affective and in immense lay profitable. A single Hunter alienated a herd in a day. Records of more than 100 buffaloes in an hour from one stand were not un-from November to February – no hired Hunter was considered worth his salt who failed to kill from one to three thousand. The seasons kill of the most expert hunters ran far above this.
At the beginning of 1871 the southern herd numbered about four millions. It had been wiped out of existence by the end of 1874. Into those four years was crowded the most tremendous slaughter of wild animals in the history of the world. When the Carnival of butchery was at its height the plains were mighty shambles tainted with the pestilential savors of thousands of carcasses. That years where these for the buzzard and the coyote. In 1871 the prairies were black with living buffaloes. In 1874 they were white with their bones.
The survivors of the great slaughter fled southward to the Llano Estacado. Scattered bands lingered about the headquarters of the Republican River and in southwestern Nebraska until 1885. While buffaloes were seen for the last time in Kansas, in the extreme southwest corner of the state, in 1886. Forty-two were killed near Tascosa, Texas, in 1887. Four killed in 1889 near Buffalo Springs, Texas, are believed to have been the last survivors of the southern herd.
The fate of the northern herd was staved off for a few years after the southern herd had been wiped out, by the presence on its range of Indians hostile to the whites and by the absence of railroads. The northern Pacific road was built to Bismarck in 1876. It became the outlet for robes and hides shipped by boat from the headwaters of the Yellowstone and the Yellowstone and the Missouri. It was not until 1880 that the road was extended West through the center of the buffalo country. In 1876, according to Doctor. Hornaday’s estimate, the herd numbered a million and a half. By 1880 it had dwindled to one million. In In 1881 there was a rush rivaled that to the southern range a few years earlier. In 1882 there were five thousand hunters and skinners on the range.
The still-hunt again was the only method employed, and robes and hides were worth three and four times as much as on the southern range. The butchery was at its height in 1882. The northern Pacific shipped out fifty thousand hides in 1881, two hundred thousand in 1882, forty thousand in 1883, and only three hundred in 1884. These shipments are an isotherm marking the rise and fall of the slaughter. The end came without the hunters themselves being aware of the exterminating character of their work. In the autumn of 1883 many hunting parties were outfitted at heavy expenses and struck into the range only to learn through bankruptcy that the buffalo had gone forever.
Toward the close of the season that marked the extermination of the northern buffalo a herd of fifty thousand crossed the Yellowstone River near Fort Keogh, and disappeared and the northern wilderness. When the range grew green the neck sprain settlers and Indians refurbished up their rifles and watch the northern horizon for its return: but they watched in vain that year, and the next, and the year after. The last great herd passed into tradition as the lost herd. The believe grew that it had escaped the slaughter and had found refuge in the wild country between the Peace and Saskatchewan Rivers, in Canada. To this day, in the cabins of gray-bearded pioneers and that teepees of Indians in the Northwest, you may find men who expect to wake up some fine morning and glad their eyes with a site of the last heard once more at pasture on its old stamping grounds. Alas, that their dream never came true! The great herd in its northern migration never reached the Canadian border. It was wiped out to the last the by white hunters along the upper reaches of the Missouri River.
Only a few stragglers of the great northern herd were spared. Two hundred survived for a few years in the broken country West of the Musselshell River, in Montana. These eventually were killed. Two hundred found refuge in Yellowstone Park. Many of these were slain when they strayed out of the protected area. The last buffaloes of the northern herd that To the open range were killed in 1886 in Big Dry and Big Porcupine Creek’s, in Montana, by Dr. William T. Hornaday at the head of a Smithsonian institution expedition. The Dr. and his companions killed twenty-five. A number of these were mounted and are now in the National Museum, out Washington.