Unfortunately the wild abundance of America today is often taken for granted. Citizens of Canada and the United States have come to expect wildlife diversity as part of their cultural experience and remain largely uninformed of the heroic efforts that led to this priceless wild legacy and the complex infrastructure that ensures its continued presence in our lives. Addressing this lack of awareness by North American society is beyond question one of the great social responsibilities for the conservation movement in this 21st century.
The American buffalo (or bison, more technically) may have been, at one time, the most abundant large wild mammal on earth. The historical references to their immense herds are difficult to comprehend; such is the scale of their numbers and the sheer improbable spectacle the authors of these reports try to convey. Perhaps these images are also difficult for us to understand because they inevitably inspire in the sensitive reader a feeling of great sadness that such a wondrous prospect must now be denied us all, forever.