Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Bison return to Banff national park in Canada

6 February 2017

A herd of plains bison have been successfully reintroduced to Canada's oldest national park, more than 100 years after they were nearly hunted out of existence.

The 16 bison were moved to the Banff National Park in Alberta last week. 

On Monday officials said the transfer had gone smoothly and the animals were adapting well to their new home.

The move will restore their role in the park's ecosystem, officials say, and has been welcomed by indigenous groups.

The bison will be kept under observation in an enclosed pasture of the park in the foothills of the Rockies until the summer of 2018, Parks Canada officials say.

Image copyright Parks Canada via Reuters Image caption The animals were prized by aboriginal Canadians for the food and clothing they supply Image copyright Parks Canada via Reuters Image caption If the phased release goes according to plan, the bison will be allowed further into the park next year Image copyright Parks Canada via Reuters Image caption The bison have been arriving at Banff since the end of January 

The animals were once the dominant grazers in the park, in addition to being spiritually significant to Canada's aboriginal groups, supplying them with food, clothing and shelter.
The herd will eventually be released into a far wider area of the park where they will be at liberty to interact with other native animals and search for food, The Calgary Herald reported.

It said the hope is that natural barriers and wildlife fencing will stop the bison from wandering astray.

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