The Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada opened its gates to accommodate 16 bison. This reintroduction came after almost a century when they were nearly hunted “out of existence.” According to officials, the transfer of the bison to their new habitat became smooth as the animals were able to adapt well.
The bison were moved to the esteemed park because they will play a vital role in restoring the area’s ecosystem. They will be kept in an enclosed pasture under observation. The enclosed pasture is located within the foothills of the Rockies until the summer of 2018. Moreover, indigenous peoples working or living within the park’s premises welcomed the bison and said that they will help in ensuring their safety.
The bison were once dominant attractions in the park. These animals also serve some form of spiritual significance to the aboriginal groups of Canada. The bison were sources of food, shelter and clothing.
After a certain period of time, the bison will be released into a far wider area of the park. There, they can interact with other native animals and search for food themselves.
According to BBC, almost 30 million bison were found on the plains. However, they have been hunted on the brink of extinction. Luckily, the local government was able to maintain a handful in some of their controlled areas.
Reuters also reported that ten pregnant female bison and six young bulls have been tested for disease. These bison were radio collared prior to being herded into five shipping containers. The horns of the bison have been taped with rubber hoses to prevent injuries while being driven 400 km (250 miles) cross Alberta by truck.
Shipping containers were attached by long line to a helicopter as it was flown in one at a time for the last 25 km (16 miles), because the Panther Valley cannot be reached by road. Recent studies reveal that researchers were able to trace the ancestors of the bison through cave paintings.