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Groups to Discuss Future of Wood Bison in the Interior: Palin Interfers With Endangered Species Act..Again

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- 3708 days ago -
Gov. Sarah Palin said she supports the wood bison restoration project but is concerned about "possible restrictions on oil and gas and other natural resource development" because of complications surrounding the ESA.Palin has asked the Department of Fish


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Wolfweeps P (251)
Wednesday April 29, 2009, 5:11 am
More Information on Wood Bison Re-introduction
Project moving forward to reintroduce Wood Bison to Alaska

See history being made, firsthand at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC). In what is described by supporters, including the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, Carlile Trucking and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Experimental Farm, as one of the most exciting wildlife programs ever, the Wood Bison (gone from Alaska for 100 years or more) is being brought back.
“This is a first, said Mike Miller who, with his wife Kelly, runs AWCC. “We are actually bringing back an extirpated species, not just helping an endangered species.” The Alaska Wood Bison Project is not just about wildlife, it’s about making history.
In addition to providing Wood Bison to Alaska for reintroduction, Canada has sent wood bison to Russia where they are being introduced in Yakutia.
In March 2009, ADF&G, AWCC staff and others will cooperate to move the 82 Wood Bison, currently at AWCC through a handling facility for testing to ensure they do not carry disease.
About 40 of the bison will be transported to a temporary holding enclosure at Minto Flats in March 2010 where they, plus some calves that will be born in the enclosure, will be released when native grasses begin to green up. Restoring the Wood Bison in the Yukon Flats and lower Yukon areas is also planned.
The Plains Bison, currently the only wild bison in Alaska, was not native to Alaska. The larger Wood Bison (average bull 1,800 pounds compared to Plains bull average of 1,600 pounds) inhabited what is now Alaska for about 10,000 years until their disappearance within the last 100 to 200 years.
“Even the Wood Bison is a relative newcomer to Alaska,” said Randy Rogers, Project Planner for the ADF&G Wood Bison program, started in 1995. “Bison have been present for about 400,000 years. The earlier bison were replaced in North America by the ‘small horned’ wood and Plains Bison about 10,000 years ago.”
Rogers said the most recent wood bison bones we have carbon dated are about 170 years old although there were some reported sightings in the Yukon Flats about 100 years ago.
“We attribute the disappearance of the Wood Bison to a combination of changes in habitat distribution (grass lands, which bison need for food, became more isolated as the boreal forest expanded), and unregulated harvest,” he said. “Studies show large expanses of good bison habitat is still available so it is unlikely that habitat change alone was responsible. Improvements in hunting technology (such as the bow and arrow) also occurred before the time the bison disappeared.”
The Wood Bison was nearly extinct around 1900, when only a few hundred remained in Canada. Their original range extended from Alaska east into the Northwest Territories and south into what is now British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. The Canadians began a successful captive breeding and reintroduction effort with the capture of some of the remaining Wood Bison in the 1960’s. There are now over 4,000 Wood Bison in healthy free-ranging herds in Canada.
Thirteen yearling Wood Bison were delivered to AWCC from the Yukon in 2003. Twenty-one calves plus additional animals imported by ADF&G in 2008 have brought the AWCC herd up to 82 bison.
“Since man contributed to the extinction of wood bison in Alaska, it seems appropriate that we bring them back,” said Rogers.
This is a sentiment shared by project supporters including the UAF Experimental Farm in Palmer which is supplying thousands of tons of haylage for the bison and Carlile Trucking, which is donating the drivers, trucks, fuel etc to haul the feed to AWCC.
“We feel this is an important project for Alaska,” said Peggy Spitter at Carlile. “That’s why we support it.”
Carlile driver Doyle Bartel recently delivered the second of about 10 loads of haylage from the Experimental Farm to AWCC. This is not your 50-pound bag of dog food. Haylage is in 1,200 to 1,700 pound plastic wrapped bales. A 35-bale load fills a tandem (double) semi-trailer.
“We send ‘haylage,’ a fermented hay that can be plastic wrapped about 12 hours after it is cut,” said Norm Harris, at the Experimental Farm explained. “Unlike hay, it doesn’t spoil due to the high moisture content, as hay would and the nutrient content is high. We think this is an important project. That’s why we support it and donate some of the haylage.”
One question of concern with the project is whether the wood bison will compete with existing wildlife? According to Rogers, Wood Bison, graze on sedges and grasses, moose browse on shrubs. He said Wood Bison will fill an ecological ‘niche’ that has been vacant since their extirpation. Any overlap in their diets seems to be minor.
“All the public comment at hearings shows a lot of support for moving ahead with the project,” he said.
The Wood Bison can be viewed and photographed at AWCC as they wait to head back into the wild to reestablish populations in the Alaskan wild.


Simone D (1462)
Wednesday April 29, 2009, 5:12 am
Thank you Wolfweeps. Palin after the wood bison now, bloody hell!

Past Member (0)
Thursday April 30, 2009, 2:22 pm
Me and another have decided that Palin is not human, rather she is a banshee. When is banshee hunting season?

Humans have messed up the ecological balance of our planet, but we hold the power to remedy much of the damage that has been done. We can!
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