Thirty young bison from Alberta, Canada will board a large Russian transport plane and fly ten hours to Siberia in March. They will become part of a project to repopulate a wild area located in the Republic of Sakha, where the native bison went extinct. It is a massive, northern area with just under one million people, and slightly over one million square miles.
“The Government of Canada’s commitment to the recovery of species at risk is not limited by international borders. In providing wood bison to the Republic of Sakha, we are contributing to the continued survival and well being of an iconic and majestic animal that was once on the brink of extinction,” said Mr. Benoit. (Source: Marketwire.com)
Canada’s Elk Island National Park has played a very important role in conservation of bison. Following the period in which they were nearly exterminated, some of the remaining few were taken care of there. Since 1907 they have worked to rejuvenate the bison herds, and have been successful enough that they have shipped 855 bison to Alaska, Russia and other parts of Canada. Elk Island is located not far from Edmonton, and has the one of the largest populations of wild hoofed animals in the world. It is home to both wood and plains bison, but also elk, moose deer, coyotes, beavers and some rare birds. Today there are about 400 plains bison, and 315 wood bison in the park.
In 2006 a group of 30 bison from Canada was shipped to Russia also, for the same project. The new group will join the foundation herd soon. The first group of 30 produced 21 calves in five years. The second group will help expand the herd and prevent inbreeding.
Image Credit: Enzenberger