William Temple Hornaday
William Temple Hornaday's career is a testament to his skills as a leader: Chief Taxidermist of the United States National Museum, superintendent of the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, director of the New York Zoological Society, founder of both the Campfire Club of America and the Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund. But it was Hornaday's boundless compassion for the welfare of wild animals and birds that distinguished him among the conservationists of his time.
An articulate spokesman and influential writer, Hornaday wrote hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and more than 20 books, which wielded great power in helping to bring about wildlife conservation laws. His role in the passage of the 1911 Fur Seal Treaty was largely responsible for sparing the Alaskan fur seal from oblivion. His tireless efforts against huge obstacles led to the passage of important conservation legislation, including the Federal Migratory Bird Act, which protects all migratory birds and allows regulated seasons on game species.
But among Hornaday's many victories, his successful fight to save the endangered American buffalo stands out as the greatest. He organized and became president of the American Bison Society, and convinced the federal government to establish the National Bison Range in the West. He raised $10,000 to buy a small herd of buffalo for the new range, and worked, through the American Bison Society, to secure other ranges as buffalo habitat.
By 1918, the buffalo - a symbol of our national heritage - was no longer in danger of extinction, thanks in large part to William Temple Hornaday. Today, the National Wildlife Federation is working to ensure that Hornaday's greatest contribution lives on in the form of wild and free-roaming buffalo on the American landscape.
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