It has been at least 100 years since Bison were last seen in Canada’s oldest national park. However, according to park officials, they’ve come back!
On a recent video, helicopters are lowering the animals into the park in shipping containers. Then, the doors open and the Bison leave the containers, roaming the park that was once their natural habitat. Conservationist Harvey Locke says that the Bison returning made for a fantastic day, not only for Banff National Park, but all of Canada.
Hunters almost caused the creatures’ to become extinct, but the Bison play a big part in forming the park’s ecosystem. By returning them back to the national park, it will help restore cultural connections and provide more jobs within the park. Native American communities around the park have strong spiritual and cultural ties with the Bison and have accepted their return with open arms.
It was a diligent plan to send the 16 Bison to the Banff National Park. Many of the female Bison are pregnant. They were all hand selected at Canada’s Elk Island National Park. They were in quarantine together and underwent many different health exams.
After, the animals went by trucks in shipping containers to fly to Panther Valley. The Bison were released into an enclosed area so that park officials can monitor them and they can bond.
Park Authorities expect to open the gates to allow the Bison to wander around more land in 2018. They want to give the animals a chance to interact with other species native to the area. They also want to look for food and continue their role in the ecosystem that we lost for over a century. Natural barriers and wildlife-friendly railings block the animals from leaving the area. Some cattlemen worry about their return. The rancher’s concerns are with the possibility of the animals escaping, damaging nearby land, and death of livestock due to spreading disease.