American Bison Society
The American Bison Society (ABS) was founded in 1905 by pioneering conservationists and sportsmen including William T. Hornaday and Theodore Roosevelt to help save the bison from extinction and raise public awareness about the species.
Over 40 million American bison (Bison bison) once roamed the plains and grasslands from Mexico to central Canada, shaping the landscape with their migrations, grazing patterns, and behavior. By the 1870s, their populations had been decimated by westward expansion and over-hunting. An 1884 survey conducted by Hornaday, the first director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (known then as the New York Zoological Society), showed that approximately 1,000 bison remained in North America.
The early American Bison Society launched a campaign to raise funds to create wild bison reserves and stock them with bison from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. In 1907 the ABS shipped 15 bison to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Game Preserve in Oklahoma by cart and rail. This was the first animal reintroduction in North America. In 1910, the ABS helped buy the nucleus herd for the National Bison Range in Montana, and in 1913, ABS donated 14 bison to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Counting on the successful reproduction of the species, the ABS considered their work done, and the organization was disbanded in 1935.
In 2005, the American Bison Society was re-launched by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to secure the ecological future of bison in North America.
On August 12, 2010 National Geographic published a progress report on the Wood Bison Recovery Program supported in part by WCS- North America.