Madison Grant

Madison Grant

(November 19, 1865 – May 30, 1937)

Bronx Zoo Madison Grant

Credible wildlife zoologist, was instrumental in creating the Bronx Zoo, and founded the first organizations dedicated to preserving American bison.

Grant spent his career at the center of the same energetic conservationist circle as Roosevelt. This band of reformers did much to create the country’s national parks, forests, game refuges, and other public lands—the system of environmental stewardship and public access that has been called “America’s best idea.” They developed the conviction that a country’s treatment of its land and wildlife is a measure of its character. Now that natural selection had given way to humanity’s “complete mastery of the globe,” as Grant wrote in 1909, his generation had “the responsibility of saying what forms of life shall be preserved.”


He wrote about the moose, the mountain goat, and the redwood tree, whose nobility and need for protection in a venal world so resembled the plight of Grant’s “Nordics” that his biographer, Jonathan Spiro, concludes that he saw them as two faces of a single threatened, declining aristocracy. Similarly, Roosevelt, in his accounts of hunting, could not say enough about the “lordly” and “noble” elk and buffalo that he and Grant helped to preserve, and loved to kill. Their preservation work aimed to keep alive this kind of encounter between would-be aristocratic men and halfway wild nature.

Grant was a close friend of several U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, and also was an avid conservationist. He is credited with saving many natural species from extinction

He was also the creator of wildlife management, helped to found the Bronx Zoo, build the Bronx River Parkway, save the American bison as an organizer of the American Bison Society, and helped to create Glacier National Park and Denali National Park. In 1906, as Secretary of the New York Zoological Society.



“The Origin and Relationship of Large Mammals in North America”   by Madison Grant


The next family of the Ungulates is the Bovidae, and its largest American member is the bison, Bison americanus, which is very closely related to the European bison or wisent, B. bonassus, now often mis-called the aurochs.

The American bison is probably a relatively recent immigrant from the Old World. It does not occur in the Lower Pleistocene Equus fauna, but comes in abundantly just above. Several other species of fossil bison go back to about the Middle Pleistocene, one, B. prisons, being found fossil both in Europe arid in Alaska. These bison probably represent other species which arrived at the same time, rather than the ancestral stock of the living animal. Additional proof of its recent arrival is indicated by the fact that while attaining the greatest numerical development of any American hoofed animal, and with an immense range, extending from Great Slave Lake to Mexico, from the Rockies to the Atlantic tidewater, and northeastward into New York State, it appears to have developed but one imperfectly marked subspecies
in the far North, known as the wood buffalo, B. americanus athabascae.