Wood Bison To Be Introduced Again In Alaska

One hundred wood bison are set for release in Alaska this month. (Ansgar Walk/Wikimedia)

One hundred wood bison are set for release in Alaska this month. (Ansgar Walk/Wikimedia)

 

It’s been over a century since wood bison roamed Alaska. But that’s about to change. From the Associated Press:

A hundred wood bison that will be the foundation for the first wild herd on U.S. soil in more than a century have been safely delivered to a rural Alaska village, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

 “They are acclimating very rapidly,” said department biologist Cathie Harms. “They are doing very well so far.”

They likely will be released from Shageluk into the Innoko Flats in one or two weeks, she said.

Wood bison are native to Alaska, but disappeared from the state more than a century ago.

They’re bigger than plains bison found in Lower 48 states and are North America’s largest land animal. Adult wood bison bulls can weigh more than 2,000 pounds and cows up to 1,200 pounds.

Wood bison from Canada were imported to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in 2008 but restoration of the threatened species was delayed. Landowners didn’t want their property listed as critical habitat with additional federal oversight. The state and federal governments agreed to consider the Alaska wood bison as “experimental” without the usual Endangered Species Act requirements.

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