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March 1, 2017

The American Bison is the largest land mammal in North America

The American Bison is the largest land mammal in North America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer: Dan Dzurisin

No bison have lived in Banff National Park for 130 years. Now Canada is returning the bison home. This is a happy day for the land and its people and animals.

Sixteen wild bison from Elk Island National Park arrived in Banff by truck and helicopter in January 2017. The bison will live in a fenced field for a year because they need time to get used to their new home. In 2018, they will go free in the 1,200-square-kilometer area of the Cascade and Red River valleys.

Over a hundred years ago, bison were key animals in Banff. Thousands lived there. The First Nations people (Indians) ate their meat and used their hides for clothing. They were an important part of the culture and life for “buffalo peoples.”

However, settlers and hunters also hunted bison and killed the animals for sport. Soon nearly every one of the nearly 30 million bison in the US and Canada was dead. The Canadian government saved a herd of some of the last living animals in 1900.

The return of the bison will cost $6.5 million dollars over five years. Park staff will follow the herd. They want the bison to live successfully in Banff.

A welcome home party for the bison will be on March 3.

To view video of the return of the bison to Banff click here –>


Published March 2017

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