How a Peculiar Victorian Zookeeper Waged a Lonely Crusade for Wildlife That Changed the World by Stefan Bechtel
William Temple Hornaday may have been a small man, but there was nothing diminutive about the naturalist’s ego, bravery, energy or ambition. Born a few years before the U.S. Civil War, the tenacious naturalist accomplished so much in his 82 years that Bechtel’s biography of him reads like larger-than-life fiction. Yet few will recognize Hornaday’s name.
He was almost solely responsible for bringing the American buffalo back from the brink of extinction and played a crucial role in saving Alaskan fur seals from a similar fate.
Beginning his career as a taxidermist, Hornaday would become a father of the American wildlife conservation movement. He not only developed plans for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., but also collected its initial specimens and cared for them on the National Mall. Shortly afterward, he was ousted as zoo