By Ken Zontek
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Extra info for Buffalo Nation: American Indian Efforts to Restore the Bison
Jones claimed that he conceived his rescue idea in 1872. He still hunted buffalo for a living, but he sought to atone for his slaughter. To this end, between 1886 and 1889 he and his staff embarked on four rescue missions ranging from Garden City, Kansas, down into the Texas panhandle and catching an estimated ﬁfty-six buffalo calves. 20 Jones’s entertaining tales of his expeditions detail roping calves, grabbing their tails, and hand-throwing them. He explained to his biographer, Henry Inman, that on his ﬁrst calf-catching expedition he protected his charges from wolves that closed in on the thrown and tied calves.
The company continued raising the bison, with some ﬁnding themselves at the New York Zoological Park in 1904. 8 This example combined with the numerous examples of calf-napping underscores the historical importance of the successful captive breeding programs initiated by people who hunted, caught, raised, and increased bison to guarantee the survival of the species. The two most famous bison-savers, Charles Goodnight and C. J. 9 From their stories, some of the themes threaded through the successful bison-saving efforts appear.
Map 1: Bison Maximum Range, Remnant Herds, and Captive Founding Herds. Sources: Roe, North American Buffalo, appendix map, and Hornaday, “Discovery, Life, History, and Extermination of the American Bison,” 525. 30 A Relationship from Time Immemorial Fig. 1. Forage conversion: the benevolence of the bison. © William Campbell, Homeﬁre Productions, Inc. Fig. 2. A remnant of the once proliﬁc charismatic megafauna. Photo by author (1999). Fig. 3: Bison hoof and human hand: a relationship set in stone.
Buffalo Nation: American Indian Efforts to Restore the Bison by Ken Zontek