Smithsonian

Buffalo Population

By 1889, only 1,091 buffalos were left in North America. A combination of factors caused this rapid depletion of the buffalo population: white hunters, the construction of the railroad, the introduction of European livestock diseases. This greatly impacted the lives of Plains Indians, who used the buffalo for many products.

Credit: Buffalo population graph from National Geographic, November 1994 (reprinted in Holt, Rinehart, and Winston).