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March 28, 2020 - JSTOR Daily

Where the Bison Roam—Again?

Where the Bison Roam—Again?
Slaughtered Bison Skulls 1892File Image: (c) Photabulous!

The American bison isn’t extinct. But could it ever roam freely across North America, as it once did? Some scholars say it could happen.

Saving the American bison from extinction in the late nineteenth century has been hailed as one of the great achievements of the conservation movement. Zoologist and conservationist William T. Hornaday’s 1889 map of the distribution of bison records the continental reduction of the range of Bison bison, shrinking down over time to practically zero. The conservationists were just in time. But still, only about half a million bison are found today, in less than 1 percent of their historic range.

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