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When William Temple Hornaday wrote this text for the Smithsonian Institution in 1889, the thirty million buffalo that had once roamed North America had been reduced to a few hundred. Alarmed by this loss, Hornaday - a hunter, zoologist, writer, and the Smithsonian's chief taxidermist - set out for Montana to collect specimens for preservation at the Smithsonian. One of the main results of his trip was The Extermination of the American Bison, a timely recounting of the history and destruction of the buffalo, and a landmark work in early conservation advocacy.