Animals that faced the most Ecocide

Genocide is an internationally recognized crime where acts are committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious groupit specifically refers to human targeting.

However, there is also ecocide which  is a human impact on the environment causing mass destruction to that environment and some extreme examples of this is the mass execution of the American Bison.

No where in history was there a more concerted, whole sale slaughter of an animal.

The man at the top is standing on a pile of Bison skulls. No skeletons, just the skulls. Over 100,000 Bison died to make that pile)

These animals weren’t killed to be eaten.

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They weren’t killed to supply a huge demand. So, there were no slaughterhouses and repopulation efforts for animals like cattle, and no trapping and economy for hats and clothing like the Beaver. No, these animals were exterminated in the tens of millions to eradicate their primary predator…

The Native American indigenous peoples…

Deprived of the primary food source, and arguably, the keystone species to most Plains Nations tribes, the Native Americans were quickly rounded up, and put in concentration camps that still exist today. Of course, today, they are called “Reservations”.

So, without a doubt, the most heavily targeted and exterminated animal, and the one whose numbers were most thoroughly decimated, was the American Bison. And that whole sale slaughter and extermination was for the express purpose of enacting genocide against the lawful, rightful landowners and inhabitants of this country, who opposed the wrongful forfeiture of their lands and gross violations of the treaties they were coerced into signing.

With headlines along the lines of “Every Buffalo Dead is an Indian Gone!” (attributed to General Sheridan) and more, the Generals responsible for illegally forcing the Plains Nations Native Americans knew they would have to starve them off the land. So, they paid bounties for every bison, and wholesale slaughter quickly ensued.

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In the great book “American Buffalo” Steve Rinella talks about how the hunters would follow the bison herds, the trains would follow the hunters, and hundreds of millions of buffalo were destroyed in just a few short years. As a matter of fact, if the definition of extinction is the entire removal of a species from its native lands, the buffalo were completely extinct in America. Today’s bison are largely repopulated from American Buffalo in Canada.

Credit : Peter Novak

Other animals that suffered Ecocide is Wolves (Gray and Red). Ecocide

Rhinos (all 5 species)

Harp seals (Canadian)


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And many, many more that are killed not for subsistence but from misplaced anger toward an entire species (ex. wolves and other large carnivores), lust for useless body parts (ex. rhinos, elephants, pangolins, tigers), or even live capture for the pet trade (ex. slow lorises, exotic reptiles, red pandas, parrots).

Another example is Passenger pigeon, which has been extinct for more than a century now.


These birds were so numerous (many millions) when the whites first came to North America, that when they migrated they could darken the whole sky from one end to the other, and you didn’t have to be a good hunter to bring one down; just randomly shoot into the air with either bullet or arrow, and you would bring a bird down because there was so little space between the birds in the flock.


Both indigenous Americans and whites would shoot as many as they could out of the sky when flocks passed over, and they generally ate everything they shot, but the arrival of firearms on the continent tipped the balance to the point that the birds were extinct in the wild.

The last passenger pigeon in captivity died in 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo.



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