<< Previous Next >>

The Boston Globe
Boston Massachusetts Mar 20, 1931

INDIANS SUE U. S. FOR $68,707,000
Claim Based on Almost Forgotten Treaties Made in Time of Rush for Gold 

WASHINGTON (N. A. N. A.) The Blackfeet are on the warpath again.

This time the battleground is the United States Court of Claims, where the tribe is suing the Government for $68.707.00O on claims arising from long forgotten Indian, wars and Still Hunting Buffalocovered wagon caravans over plains black with bison.

It is one of 4he largest claims ever brought against the United States and it goes back, according to Joseph W. Brown, president of the tribal council, to the days of the Oregon Trail and the backwash of the ’49 gold rush to California, when the Blackfeet considered themselves an Independent Nation.

The covered wagon trails passed through the Blackfoot country about the headwaters of the Missouri. The dry, desolate foothills east of the Rockies were of no interest to the pioneers, whose hopes were fixed on the fertile Pacific Coast slopes ahead. All they wanted was safe passage for their wagons and herds of stock through country which. Mr. Brown says, they never considered “a white man’s land.”

Powerful Nation Then
For this purpose, a treaty was signed with the chiefs of the Blackfeet and other mountain tribes, just as If they had been Independent Nations, by which the tribal territories were delimited. At that time the Blackfeet were a powerful Nation, numbering about 10,000 souls, who lived almost entirely off the buffalo.

Now a point evidently overlooked in drawing the boundary lines was the fact that there were no buffalo west of the Rockies, while the country about Hell Gate Pass, the easiest route for the wagon trails, abounded with them. This was claimed by the Blackfeet.

The Nez Perces and the Flatheads of the Washington Territory began to send raiding parties across the mountains. These would clash with the Blackfeet hunting parties and bloody skirmishes would ensue.

To meet this difficulty Gov Isaac I. Stevens of the Washington Territory arranged in 1855 another treaty between the Blackfeet, the Nez Perces, and the Flatheads, setting aside a common hunting ground, just south of the Musselshell and Missouri Rivers.

In 1863 gold was found in the heart of the common hunting ground. Prospectors and settlers poured in, villages sprang up and the bison were slaughtered. The Montana Territory was established. At this time a new treaty was negotiated with the Blackfeet but it never was ratified by the Senate.


The Nebraska State Journal
Lincoln Nebraska Aug  2, 1931

Fine Specimens of Bison and Elk Form Nucleus for Menagerie at Pioneers Park

Contentedly grazing on the same hills that their uncaptured ancestors roamed three score years ago, is this small herd of nearly domesticated bison, more .commonly known as buffalo. The city’s herd of elk also finds grazing ground here.

While the rolling prairies in days gone by resounded to the thundering roar of the mighty herds in their turbulent dashings, all is quiet today, for these last remaining specimens seem utterly content in their own small domain. Altho their freedom is limited by the high wire fences that form the animal pens at Pioneers park, it was to them like getting back to nature when Commissioner Bair decided that the pens at Antelope park were much too small for the well being of the animals, and ordered that they be removed to Lincoln’s newest and largest playground.

Several of the bison and elk did not know what freedom meant, for their world previously had been the four fences of the Antelope park pens, they having first seen the light of day there. Others, however, were taken from their native state when brought to the park zoo, and soon become re-accustomed to their new eighty acre home. The younger beasts who were born in Antelope park and unfamiliar with the ways of the world outside, either, walked in circles in a small area or raced from one place to another, shying away from every tree, stump, and log. One little bison calf, not yet six months old, made a bee-line for the large pond in the center of the pens. Never before had he seen water in such quantities. He did not slacken his pace at the water’s edge but plunged right in. He waded as far as he could, but when he no longer felt the earth beneath his feet, started to struggle desperately. While park employees were preparing to effect a rescue, the little bison came to the realization that he could swim and did. Since that day, he has never come closer than a hundred yards of the pond.

As far as the elk are concerned, the pens need not have been larger than the pond itself. It only took them a few hours to learn of the cooling qualities of the water on these extremely hot afternoons, and since that time they have been lounging around in the water with hardly anything more than ears and antlers above the surface. The only time an intruder needs gear for his life around the elk is when he attempts to disturb the aquatic slumbers.

The bison herd comprises seven animals, three cows, two calves and two bulls. The calves were both born this year and a marked improvement in their general health and condition has been noted by park employees since their departure from the confines of the Antelope pens. Likewise, the other bison are doing well. Ribs that once could plainly be counted, are to be seen no more, for each animal is as round and fat as could be desired, and naturally so, since the hay in the pens is belly deep to the bison, thruout.

The two bison cows with calves are kept separated from the others, owing to the fact that the bull bison take extreme delight in attempting to toss the juniors over the twelve-foot fence. Ordinarily, peace-loving animals, the cow becomes ferocious when anyone, man or beast, attempts to disturb the peace of the calves.

The city has only three elk, two bucks and a doe. Both bucks have well-shaped antlers, one having ten points and the other, a much younger animal, but four.

Early, this fall, employees of the park department will erect three winter quarters for the animals of stone taken from- the Haymarket square wall, which has already been hauled to the park.

The herd of sixteen deer, still at the Antelope pens, will be removed to Pioneers park as soon as expected new arrivals appear.



The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn NY Aug 10, 1931

Saving the European Bison.

The Bos Bonasus (Bison) played around with the aurochs in central Europe in the time of Julius Caesar and came in for some of his commentaries. Known as the European bison and in Russia as the Zubr, a cousin of our plains buffalo, this species is close to extinction.

It is pleasant to know that with cash and counsel the American Bison Society and the New York Zoological Society are aiding English and Continental animal lovers to save the European bison.

Up to the time of the World War, menageries were supplied from the herd of the Prince of Pless, in Silesia, to whom the Czar Alexander had in 1855 given one bull and three cows. The Duke of Bedford still has a small herd at Woburn Abbey. The vast numbers of Lithuanian bison have vanished. Nobody knows how many specimens of the Zubr there are in Russia.

The plan is to establish a central locality for breeding herd where the coarse aromatic grass the bison like can be found – probably in Poland and so far as possible remove all private collections to this center.

The gravest tragedy in the history of big game bunting was the virtual extinction of the American bison or buffalo in our West. There these great animals ranged in vast wild herds, grown specimens being ten feet long and six feet to the top of the hump. Hunters who went out for the heads and skins did their worst, and that was bad enough. But it was the pot-hunter period that really wiped out the buffalo.

In eighteen months, it is said, W. F. Cody, who had taken a contract to supply meat for construction workers on the Kansas Pacific Railroad, killed 4,280 of the buffaloes. It was not for nothing that he had the name of “Buffalo Bill.”



The Evening Journal
Wilmington Delaware Aug 22 1931

Oil Man Plans Three-Day Kill; Only 195 of Herd Left

Texas long has remembered the Alamo, and even lent some support to the Battle of Barricades at Red river, says the Kansas City Star. But now there a new cry of protest flung wide over the vast Lone Star State, which so zealously guards its pioneer traditions.

It came about suddenly less than three weeks ago when an alluring appeal to Eastern sportsmen was revealed: “Come to the prairies and canyons of Texas; hire a cowboy guide; track down and shoot a rampaging buffalo bull: take his hide home as a trophy of your prowess and as a rug for the library floor l”

This invitation will be issued throughout the East to prospective big-game hunters, and it will result in the extermination of the famous Col. Charles A. Goodnight herd of 105 grown animals and the calf crop of about fifty at the Goodnight ranch, forty-two miles east of Amarillo.

Operators of the ranch, which now is owned by J. I. Staley, Wichita Falls oil man, are going ahead with their plans to advertise the big three-day “kill” in November, while the entire Southwest, led by the Texas Panhandle, has started the cry:

 “Stop the slaughter!”

Frank Dobie, noted Texas historian and author of “Coronado’s Children,” in a talk before the Texas Legislature now in special session, expressed his contempt for the hunt with the assertion: “It would be Just as much sport to shoot a milk cow in a corral as to shoot down one of those buffaloes on the Goodnight ranch!”

Panhandle pioneers declare that to invite Easterners to the Goodnight ranch to shoot down the tame, stolid animals in cold blood would desecrate the pioneer spirit and the memory of the late Colonel Goodnight and his wife, Mary Dyer Goodnight, who fifty years ago saved the last four calves of those countless hordes of the Liana Estacado (Staked Plain) to posterity.

A few years before his death Colonel Goodnight said in concluding an interview: “Waste and destruction was everywhere. The meat that rotted in the wake of the buffalo hunters would have fed a million people every year. For eight terrible years ceaseless slaughter was wrought upon the southern herd. But gradually it was no longer possible to kill and kill without seeming to reduce the amazing numbers. At last that vast herd had dwindled to a few small bunches, which fled to the Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo. I hoped that they might be spared; but they, too, were hunted to the last one. The four calves that I captured in the canyon were the only ones left in Texas.”

Recently the members of the Texas game, fish and oyster commission visited the Goodnight ranch and herd, along with delegations from Amarillo and other cities of Northwest Texas! with a view to acquiring the herd by outright purchase and obtaining a sanctuary for them in the proposed State park in the Palo Duro canyon, a beautiful gorge across the flat prairies and containing trees, water and some of the most beautiful scenery and rock formations in the Southwest.

Contrary to the general opinion the buffaloes, even in their wild state years ago, were comparatively easy to slay in large numbers by any hunter who knew their habits. Today in their feeding lots at the old Goodnight ranch headquarters at Goodnight, or grazing or resting in the shade in the shallow canyons, they seem to realize that there is no danger and hardly stir away from the intruder.

However, there are few visitors to the herd lately unless connected with the proposed slaughter which is to be advertised in a colorful appeal to the “sporting” blood of the Easterner. Strict orders have been left to admit no one without a permit from the ranch owner.


Times Colonist
Victoria British Columbia Canada Aug 22 1931

1 Preservation of Nearly Extinct European Bison, Is Planned
Giant Forest Hog and Jungle- bred Lions May Cross the Ocean

New York, Aug 22. -Dr. W. Reid Blair, director of the New York Zoological Park, sailed on the steamer Minnetonka for a seven-weeks’ visit in Europe. While the immediate object of Dr, Blair’s trip abroad is to study at close hand present conditions affecting the European bison, or wisent, he will inspect some East Indian cattle at Alfeld, in Prussia, with the object of establishing a wild cattle division at the Bronx Park.

“This new division for wild cattle will probably be placed near the bison range at the southern end of the park,” Dr. Blair said. “At present we have only one wild Cape buffalo from Africa, a pair of gayals from East India and an anoa, a pigmy buffalo, from the Philippines.

“I plan to inspect a collection of gaur and banting from East India at Alfeld, and if specimens of these animals are acquired, I hope to have them here late this fall. They will be included in our wild cattle division.”

Regarding his special conservation mission in connection with the European bison, or wisent, Dr. Blair said at one time these animals roamed the Caucasus, Poland, and Russia in large numbers, but according to the last census the total number of pure-blooded specimens is now reduced to fifty-nine, Including twenty-two breeding cows.

Before the war a large herd in northern Russia was protected by the Russian government, but during the war, he said, 700 of these animals were slaughtered, practically wiping out the European bison, with the exception of the few remaining animals now In Germany, Poland and at the estate of the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, near London, who Is deeply interested in their preservation.

Last spring the board of trustees of the New York Zoological Society decided to have Dr. Blair go to Europe this summer to inspect the various wisent collections and to confer with the officers of the European Bison Society regarding a plan to promote the preservation of the species on a permanent basis.

If a practical arrangement can be worked out to bring about the assured and more rapid rehabilitation of the wisent, the society is prepared. It was announced, on the strength of Dr. Blair’s report, to subscribe $3,000 annually for a period of five years to aid the promotion of the plan.

One proposal which Dr. Blair will submit to the Bison Society and the owners of the bison herds is that suitable areas shall be acquired where breeding animals may be sent to propagate according to the most approved methods of scientific breeding.

The efforts of the European Bison Society toward the rehabilitation of the small remnants of the wisent, although successful to some extent, have been rather discouraging, it was said, because of the economic depression in Europe following the war.

Dr. Blair will first visit the Duke of Bedford in England, then will consult with F. E. Blauuw, honorary president of the European Bison Society at Amsterdam. At Berlin he will be joined by Dr. Jurt Priemel, president of the society, and together they will visit the wisent collection owned by Coui Arnim-Boitzenburg, near Prenslau, and later visit Warsaw, Poxnan, Cracot Breslau, Dresden and Frankfort-on- the-Main.



The Guardian London
Greater London England Aug 26 1931

Helping the Bison

Dr. Blair, a director of the New-York Zoo, has come to England to help us save our bison. The animal is already so nearly extinct that it will be news to most people that we still have bison to save. It appears, however, that the Duke of Bedford has a herd at Woburn Abbey, and there are presumably also a few left in Poland and Germany since Dr. Blair talks of American help for breeding centres there. Still all told, Europe apparently can only boast 59 specimens. That is a number verging even more perilously towards extinction than the thousand odd to which the American herd once sank, though this has now happily been multiplied by protective measures more than twenty-fold. But our problem is quite distinct from the American. In America, the danger arose from the practice of indiscriminate slaughter from excursion trains or by driving the herd over a precipice, as in South Africa lions were at one time hunted from motor-cars. It is of course, to no such cause that the disappearance of the European bison is due. According to Dr. Blair, it is due to the fact that “they do not breed in restricted areas.” They need wide, “open spaces.” Zoos are “not very good ” for them, nor does Whipsnade quite “suit them.” Thus the task of saving the European bison, which is a different species from the American, is a hard one. It would be comparatively simple to prevent their being hunted if that was the main cause of the trouble, but it is obviously difficult and expensive to find them sufficient land in the built-up countries of the Old World. It is here that American help will be exceedingly useful. Dr. Blair suggests the setting aside of three breeding reserves, which the New York Zoological Park would endeavor to support for five years. That would indeed be help worth having.



The Windsor Star
Windsor, Ontario, Canada Oct 9, 1931

To Rear Bison
Guarded Herd For Forest Park Poland

An Attempt to save the European bison from extinction will be made by placing a herd of 59 in the Vialowsiska Forest Park, Poland, at one time the hunting preserve of the Russian Czars.European Bison in pen

Dr. W. Reid Blair, director of the New York Zoological Park, has just returned from Europe with this interesting information. He visited the Duke of Bedford, at Woburn Abbey, England, where he found a herd of 27 bison roaming over a 4.500-acre estate. The Duke promised to assist in establishing the park in Poland. The New York Zoological Society has promised $3,000 a year for five years.

Dr. Blair says that at one time the hunting preserve of the Czars had a herd of 709 wisent, or European bison, but that the animals had been killed off for food, by Soviet soldiers. Shelters are now being erected to protect the small herd from snow and ice, and provisions of hay and grain will be fed to the animals until they have forgotten their life in European zoos and can shift for themselves.

This step to protect the bison of Europe is much like that of this continent, which now has several thriving herds in protected parks. The North American bison is often called “buffalo.” although the only buffalos of the world are in India and Africa.



The Record
Hackensack New Jersey Oct 16 1931


Canada and the United States learn with pleasure that the buffalo, or American bison, as it is properly called, has so increased at Wainwright Park, Alberta, Canada, that 1,500 of the animals are to be slaughtered this fall or winter and the meat sold for food.

Toward the end of the last century, the bison was threatened with extinction. The United States, aroused by public opinion, created a public park and established a force of men to guard a small herd. The example was followed by Canada.

In 1907 a few bison were purchased from an Indian in Montana, and from that humble beginning grew the immense Wainwright herd, now the largest in the world. The reduction this fall is not the first that the annual 20 percent growth has made advisable.

The cry of the conservationist that wildlife in America is being thinned to the danger point is at this one point vulnerable, for there is little danger now that the species will ever become extinct.

To those old-timers of the United States who still can remember when herds of bison blackened the Western prairies. It is particularly gratifying to know that the animal is on the increase.

It is even possible that one of the major supplies of meat for the growing population of the continent will be supplied in the future by the bison, which, save for the foresight of two governments, would have by now joined the dodo in extinction.



The San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco California Oct 28, 1931
Senator Clapper

Senator Capper also reminds you of Nature’s marvelous fertility, as follows. Twenty-four years ago, the Canadian government bought a few bisons from a Montana Indian. Canada’s bison herd now numbers 6,000, more than the allotted pasture land will take care of. Fifteen hundred young bisons must be slaughtered and eaten this year. No better meat than the hump of a young bison.



The Winnipeg Tribune
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada Nov 9 1931


Though the bison is gone forever and the beaver and the marten are slowly following, the fur trade of Canada is showing no signs of decline,” says the New York Times.

From a Times Square eyrie no doubt it does appear that the bison is gone forever, but in Canada, the bison is very much alive and is increasing so rapidly that his old enemy, man, is having trouble finding room for the increasing herds.

The pelt of the bison, as every Winnipegger knows, was divinely ordained to protect policemen from January blasts, and these garments are not heirlooms. If the bison were gone forever, our guardians will have different bunny-wraps, but the fact is that Canada, unlike her neighbor to the south, started in to conserve some of her wild-life resources before it was too late.

Bison are not the only animals to benefit by the enlightenment which substitutes adaptation for extermination, and it Is possible that before long a way will be found to save the beaver.

Out of Canada’s twelve-million-dollar raw fur output last year, pelts from fur farms accounted for 19 percent as against 12 1 him/2 percent in the previous fur season. A few years ago all the species of animals now being bred on our fur farms were “wild,” and they were on the road to extinction. Today the silver fox, which used to eat its young if kept in captivity, is almost a domestic animal.

Slowly, but, unmistakably, by selective breeding and physical adjustment, the “wild” strain is disappearing. Man is becoming a protector and friend, and the fox, while still a long way from the calm assurance of the household kitten, is losing his nervousness.

Canada pioneered in the art of fur tanning and is leading the way, step by step. No man can predict to what proportions this new industry will grow, but it has plenty of room to grow in Canada.



The Courier
Waterloo Iowa Dec 2 1931

Wild buffaloes from Wide Open Plains Tingle Blood of Hoosick Falls Cowboys
Frontiersmen Are Called Into Action When Bison Herd Runs Amuck

Hoosick Falls, N. Y. (U.R) Jack Sullivan and Nick Raymer, lasso artists on the western plains before they opened a livery stable at Utica, took to boot and saddle Wednesday to capture this town’s wandering bison herd.

Two of the three buffaloes which frisked their heels and capered away Sunday while being unloaded at a private estate were still roaming the wilds of Rensselaer county.

John Burns and Bernard Lester captured one of the buffaloes, so took charge of the roundup. They welcomed Sullivan and Raymer, who arrived replete with sombreros, fancy shirts, and two mounts.

Burns and Lester acknowledged the two former cowboys probably had the advantage of technique. They insisted their own motor truck, with which they ran down the captured bison, would turn the trick with the other two.

Forty citizens, who gathered Tuesday to be led in a bison chase by Frank O. Greene of Cherry Plain, were disappointed when Greene’s wife telephoned that he would be unable to come. They assembled again Wednesday to whoop things up in wild west fashion. Greene was touted as an old plainsman.

Hans Ehmler, owner of the herd, which was sent him by the government from Yellowstone park, meanwhile was deluged with letters and telegrams suggesting methods of retrieving his bison.

The animals evidently had settled the problem for themselves. They were observed grazing with a herd of cows on Edgar Philpott’s farm, where the roundup was resumed Wednesday.


Daily News
Ney York, New York Dec 28 1931

Meet Bos Nic, Big Bison Boss Of Zoo Bosses

Scientists are squeamish about the name. They insist it is bison not buffalo. So when you say you have a buffalo nickel in your pocket, you are wrong. It’s a bison nickel.

Anyway, up at the Bronx Zoo, they call the king of the herd “Nic.” Short for nickel, perhaps. Nic is a close relative of the ox. But there is quite a difference. Nic has a hump behind his neck, shaggier head and shoulders, and an extra rib. Then if you want to find out whether it’s an ox or a bison, count his ribs.

Two Kinds, Both Bosses.
There are two kinds of bisons, the American bison, or bos americanus, and the European bison, or the bos europaeus, or bison bonasus, or zubr. Both are rapidly becoming extinct.

American bisons roamed the Western plains in herds of tens of thousands. European bisons are found now only in the forest of Bialowicza in Lithuania. Both species have fierce tempers and have never been domesticated. They eat grass, brushwood and the bark and leaves of young trees.

Walk-Wide of Nic.1931 Nic Bronx Zoo
If you want to get close to a bison, be sure you approach from the leeward. They have a strong sense of smell, and are easily put out by the approach of strangers. So be sure you have a good reason if you want to get close to Nic.


DON’T BUFFALO THIS GUY! He has a short temper, as anybody at Bronx Zoo will tell you. And that’s rather surprising, because the bison is a close relative of the ox. And you know how docile the ox is. Does this bison look docile? Well, the answer to that is: They keep him in an enclosure at the Zoo.