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Aug 25

Where the Buffalo Roam: Return of the American Bison, 1951

Posted on August 25, 2021 at 11:48 AM by Bill Sowers

Clark Buffalo Ranch smaller

Where the Buffalo Roam: Return of the American Bison, 1951

During the late 19th century the American buffalo, once numbered in the millions on the Great Plains, were driven to near extinction by settlers, railroad workers, hunters and the US government (in an effort to sabotage food resources of some Native American Nations). 

Many years later an effort was begun to increase the numbers of the American buffalo and return these animals to their natural habitat.  Some of these efforts have been more for commercial rather than environmental reasons but still, the numbers of buffalos in the US have increased.  

As an example, an interesting article from the February 1951 issue of the Kansas Industrial Development Commission's magazine, "To The Stars." brings to light the efforts of Gene and Clyde Clark of Independence, Kansas, to develop a buffalo ranch in southeast Kansas over 70 years ago. The efforts of the buffalo ranchers are economic with a growing herd of buffalo they hope to extend to 400 head by next spring. Buffalo meat, hides, heads are sold and the ranch supports a thriving tourist business.

The article will not thrill the hearts of conservationists wanting to bring herds of buffalo back to the America's prairies but organizations such as "American Prairie Reserve" or efforts by Native American Tribes are great resources for information on noncommercial efforts to restore buffalo to their native lands.

You can read this article online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library.  KGI also has a run of the magazine, "To The Stars," 1945-1951, online for viewing.

"Where the Buffalo Roam"

To The Stars,
volume 6, no. 1 (January 1951)


Intertribal Buffalo Council

"What brought bison back from the brink of extinction?" (2008 - by Cristen Conger)

"How Native American tribes are bringing back the bison from brink of extinction"
(2018 - The Guardian)

"Bison Restoration"
(American Prairie Reserve)