But European American settlers moving west during the 1800s changed the balance.
Market hunting, sport hunting, and a U.S. Army campaign in the late 1800s nearly
caused the extinction of the bison.
Yellowstone was the only place in the lower 48 states where a population of wild, freeranging bison persisted.
The U.S. Army, which administered Yellowstone at that time,
protected these few dozen bison from poaching as best they could. The protection of
bison in Yellowstone and their subsequent recovery is one of the great triumphs of the
American conservation movement.