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Indiscriminate Slaughter of Buffalo on the Plains – 1874

Source: Austin American-Statesman – February 1, 1874, p. 2

This account of the mass slaughter of plains bison herds near the Republican River in Kansas was reprinted in the Austin American Statesman from the Denver Post in 1874. It is not about Texas, but it gives you an idea of the staggering scale of the destruction of wildlife that happened after the Civil War. This deliberate ecocide was committed by thousands of hunters looking to get rich quick off of hides and was supported by the US government, who wanted to deprive their Native American rivals of a critical food source.

For the past two years the work of destruction an annihilation has gone forward, and today there are not enough buffaloes to form what was at one time considered a moderate-sized herd.

Slaughter of Buffalo Herds 1

On the south fork of the Republican they came upon one spot where were counted six thousand five hundred carcases of buffalo which the hides only had been stripped.

Slaughter of Buffalo Herds 2

Mr. Lessig says the buffaloes are nowhere to be found.

Slaughter of Buffalo Herds 3
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