A story about buffalos, problems and solutions

At one point Hornaday realized that the buffalos that were roaming the great America plains were almost extinct, so he did what every respectable conservationist would have done: he went to Montana to kill several dozens of them.

William Temple Hornaday was one of the greatest pioneers in the early wildlife conservation movement in the United States. He was head taxidermist at the Smithsonian museum and he traveled the globe hunting exotic animals and stuffing those animals for the museum. It’s sounds weird, but for Hornaday killing all these animals was a kind of conservation. He believed that by stuffing them he was preserving endangered species for future generations that might not know them. Through taxidermy he could make the immortal…

After he hunted down and stuffed around 24 buffalos he arranged in the natural museum around a fake watering hole. As he looked at them he realized he was just a funeral director embalming the species that America was exterminating.

For me this is great example of how sometimes great people focus so much on the first solution they found that they don’t stop and question if it actually solves the problem.

This is the danger of focusing on solutions instead of focusing  on solving problems. Sometimes we fall in love with them and we keep pushing, protecting them even when they don’t make sense.

After his big awakening,  Hornaday became one of the biggest advocates for saving endangered species and he fought till the end of his life to save as many animals as possible.

My challenge for you is: STOP! Take a break from time to time and analyze your actions. See if you are embalming the buffalos or actually fighting for their survival.

You can hear the entire story on itunes or scoundcloud, starts at minute 15. I really recommend it.

Photo by Loren Kerns , used under CC

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