The Extermination of the American Bison

The Extermination of the American Bison

by William T. Hornaday

The Extermination of the American Bison – It is hoped that the following historical account of the discovery, partial utilization, and almost complete extermination of the great American bison may serve to cause the public to fully realize the folly of allowing all our most valuable and interesting American mammals to be wantonly destroyed in the same manner.

The wild buffalo is practically gone forever, and in a few more years, when the whitened bones of the last bleaching skeleton shall have been picked up and shipped East for commercial uses, nothing will remain of him save his old, well-worn trails along the watercourses, a few museum specimens, and regret for his fate.

If his untimely end fails even to point out a moral that shall benefit the surviving species of mammals _which are now being slaughtered in a similar manner_, it will be sad indeed.

Although _Bison americanus_ is a true bison, according to scientific classification, and not a buffalo, the fact that more than sixty millions of people in this country unite in calling him a “buffalo,” and know him by no other name, renders it quite unnecessary for me to apologize for following, in part, a harmless custom which has now become so universal that all the naturalists in the world could not change it if they would.


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