Bison are back in Canadian national park


This video says about itself:

Bison reintroduced to Banff National Park

6 February 2017

Parks Canada has successfully relocated 16 bison from Elk Island National Park to the remote Panther Valley in Banff National Park. This video by Parks Canada shows how the process worked.

By Lisa Monforton, CBC News in Canada:

Wild bison roam Banff National Park for 1st time in more than century

‘It’s one of the great days for wildlife conservation in the history of North America’

Feb 06, 2017 8:01 PM MT

The first wild bison to roam Banff National Park in more than a century have been airlifted into a remote valley in a “historic homecoming” aimed at re-establishing a thriving herd, Parks Canada said Monday.

The 16 bison — primarily pregnant two year olds — were loaded onto shipping containers on trucks in Elk Island National Park, about 35 kilometres east of Edmonton, and transported to the park in the past week.

The shipping containers were ferried by helicopter over the slopes and lowered into an enclosed pasture in Panther Valley near Sundre on the eastern slopes of the park.

The bison were let out into the pasture, where they’ll stay for 16 months while being closely monitored by Parks Canada using radio collars.

Eventually, in the summer of 2018, they’ll be released into a 1,200-square-kilometre area on the eastern slopes of the park, where they can interact with other native species, forage for food and integrate into the ecosystem.

Harvey Locke, a conservationist, writer and trustee with the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation in Banff, deemed the day a historic moment.

“This is a great day for Banff National Park. It’s a great day for Canada and frankly, it’s one of the great days for wildlife conservation in the history of North America,” Locke said.

Local conservationists involved in the relocation said they were relieved the moving process went so smoothly after years of research, preparations and consultations with various groups.

Karsten Heuer, a conservationist and adviser in the project, hailed it as a “big first step in bringing bison back to Banff National Park.”

“It’s a huge relief to actually have hooves on the ground,” Heuer said.

The longer-term goal is to re-establish a new wild population of bison in Banff National Park and help the conservation of the animal nationally and internationally. …

Locke said it’s only natural the bison should be roaming the park again.

“Restoring wild bison … is the righting of wrong that was caused in the 19th century when we almost eliminated wild bison as a species.… Banff Park was involved in saving the species from extinction 100 years ago, and today it’s involved in restoring this species as part of the landscape, as a wild animal, and that is really exciting,” Locke said.

Locke doesn’t think the bison will have any trouble adapting.

“I don’t think the challenges for this herd are very large, because we know from the archeological record that bison were in this park for over 10,000 years.… I think it’s going to go very, very well, because it’s a native species in its native habitat.”

Heuer called the move just the beginning.

“As we move forward, one thing we are really going to play close attention to is bringing Canadians along on the story,” Heuer said.

Ideas include continuing public education and awareness, with a chance for volunteer opportunities to learn more about the bison, Heuer said.

8 thoughts on “Bison are back in Canadian national park

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