Canada ships 30 wood bison to Russia

Mar 28, 2013
An adult wood bison feeds on leaves at its enclosure at Berlin's Tierpark Zoo on September 11, 2012. Canada has sent 30 bison to Russia for reintroduction in the rugged and mostly forested Siberian province of Sakha, 5,000 years after they died out in the area, its parks administration said Thursday.

Canada has sent 30 bison to Russia for reintroduction in the rugged and mostly forested Siberian province of Sakha, 5,000 years after they died out in the area, its parks administration said Thursday.

This third shipment of wood from Elk Island National Park outside Edmonton, Alberta as part of a started in 2006 brings the total number of bison in Sakha to more than 120, said Parks Canada.

The 10 male and 20 female calves were flown from Edmonton in trailers loaded onto a Russian transport aircraft on March 21, and were received by biologists in Sakha keen to round out the local ecosystem diversity of the protected Lenskiye-Stolby Nature Park.

The far northeastern Russian region is home to many moose, caribou and elk. But the last bison to roam the area died out about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.

The bison is North America's largest land mammal, growing to 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) and 1.8 meters (six feet) high at the shoulders.

Overhunting and the advance of the agricultural frontier brought them to the verge of extinction by 1900, with fewer than 200 plains bison and 300 wood bison left in the world.

The last large herd of wild plains bison was sold to Canada's government and shipped by train from Montana to Alberta in 1906, and herded to their new home at the newly established Elk Park.

"Most of today's surviving plains bison are their descendants," said Parks Canada.

A herd of the larger, darker wood bison that was found well north of the historic range of the plains bison was brought to Canada's only entirely-fenced in national park in 1965.

Today, they roam the hills and along the lakes and can be viewed from hiking trails along the park's boundaries.

Due to a lack of predators in the park, however, bison must periodically be transferred out in order to ensure their habitat is not over-grazed. This creates opportunities to provide animals for elsewhere in North America and abroad, said Parks Canada.

Other bison from Elk Island have in the past been relocated to Alaska, British Columbia and Canada's Yukon and Northwest territories to repopulate herds.

Explore further: Reports identify areas where wildlife can survive in a changing climate

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

European bison return to Spain: reports

Jun 06, 2010

The nearly extinct European bison has been reintroduced after centuries in Spain with seven animals coming from a rare herd in Poland, Spanish media reported Saturday.

Bringing bison back to North American landscapes

Mar 02, 2010

The next 10 to 20 years could be extremely significant for restoring wild populations of American bison to their original range, including the Canadian Rockies; but for this to happen, more land must be made available for ...

Bison can thrive again, study says

Apr 29, 2008

Bison can repopulate large areas from Alaska to Mexico over the next 100 years provided a series of conservation and restoration measures are taken, according to continental assessment of this iconic species ...

Recommended for you

How can we avoid kelp beds turning into barren grounds?

2 hours ago

Urchins are marine invertebrates that mould the biological richness of marine grounds. However, an excessive proliferation of urchins may also have severe ecological consequences on marine grounds as they ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Moebius
5 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2013
They should have asked for Snow Leopards in return.
Shootist
1 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2013
Nothing could go wrong.
ValeriaT
2 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2013
Putin the hunter wants some fun?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.