This 1894 photo of Yellowstone soldiers posing with bison killed by a poacher led to national public outcry and spurred Congress to give the Army the power to prosecute park violaters. Photo by NPS

A 1894 photo of Yellowstone soldiers posing with bison killed by a poacher led to national public outcry and spurred Congress to give the Army the power to prosecute those who killed wildlife within the park.

Park spearheads national effort to save an endangered species.

During Yellowstone's early days, people still hunted in the park. That changed radically in 1894 when Army soldiers in Yellowstone captured bison poacher Edgar Howell and posed with eight of the confiscated bison heads (pictured above). Extensive media coverage of Howell’s capture and the public outcry that followed led to the passage of the Lacey Act, which prohibited hunting, capturing or killing wild animals in the park. It also gave the Army authority to prosecute criminal activity.

At the time, bison were teetering on the brink of extinction after being slaughtered for hides, for sport and to weaken the Plains Indians who depended on bison for food, clothing and shelter.

With only 23 bison left in Yellowstone in 1916, park managers began some of the nation’s first efforts to save an endangered species. Today 4,900 bison roam free in the park. Tension does exist between park managers and Montana landowners who fear roaming bison will transmit brucellosis to livestock. As part of a controversial agreement between Montana officials and federal agencies, park managers kill some bison annually to reduce their numbers.


Video: Conserving Wild Bison

Video: Conserving Wild Bison

Since wild bison compete with humans for habitat, it is necessary to "manage" this "wildlife." This video, discusses the problems with bison management.

Bison herd in Yellowstone

Culling the Last Wild Herd of Bison in Yellowstone National Park

These bison stem from an original population of 25 that survived mass killings. Yet, for the past 17 years, they have been sent to the slaughterhouse.

Stagecoach at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone

The History of West Yellowstone

The trip E.H. Harriman, president of the Union Pacific Railroad, and Frank J. Haynes, president of Monida & Yellowstone Stage Line, made to Yellowstone National Park in 1905, led to the existence of the town of West Yellowstone.

Steam from Geysers beside Yellowstone Lake

Lost in Yellowstone, The Misadventures of Truman Everts

In 1870, Truman Everts went on a Yellowstone Expedition. He got lost two times then started a forest fire. So of course we offered him a superintendent job.


John Colter - The Mystery of the Stone and the Legend of the Run

Is the stone a fake or does it mean Colter was the first Yellowstone explorer. Also read about Colter's run from Blackfeet Indians which inspired a movie.

Releasing a Sawtooth wolf pup into the Nez Perce acclimation pen, February 1997.

1995 Reintroduction of Wolves in Yellowstone

The history of wolves in Yellowstone - what has happened to the environment when they were eradicated and when they were returned Jan 12, 1995.

Gray wolf

Yellowstone Wolves Protected But Opinions Differ

Inside Yellowstone, wolves are considered a national treasure. Outside, in the states of WY, MT and ID, they are received with slightly less verve.

Dan Wenk

Q&A with Yellowstone's Superintendent Dan Wenk

Superintendent Dan Wenk reminisces about the last century and shares thoughts about the challenges and opportunities for the next century.

Bison in Yellowstone. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

Bison Becomes National Mammal

After 234 years, it’s time for another animal to join the American eagle as a national symbol. Will it be the bison?