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Parks Canada’s Gift to the Earth

Reintroducing the Plains Bison and Black-footed Ferret

Black-footed ferret In 2009 the black-footed ferret was reintroduced to Canada in Grasslands National Park.
© Mike Lockhart
After a 120-year absence, the majestic and once ubiquitous plains bison – an icon of the prairie – was reintroduced to the park’s grasslands in 2006. Seventy-one of these rugged creatures, once at the heart of the culture and economy of the Aboriginal peoples of the Great Plains, were released and the growing herd of 190 are now free-roaming over the wind-swept park prairie. As a result, the grazing process has been restored to this mixed-grass ecosystem and Canadians once again have the opportunity to view these symbols of the wild prairie.

Once considered North America’s rarest mammal, in 2009 the black-footed ferret was reintroduced to Canada in Grasslands National Park. In the summer of 2010, for the first time in over 70 years, black-footed ferret pups born in the wild in Canada were observed – a tremendous cause for celebration. Since their reintroduction, this once lost native species has been closely monitored by park staff and dedicated volunteers.

Parks Canada is working closely with conservation partners towards restoring the prairie ecosystem.

Plains Bisons
The growing herd of 190 plains bison are now free-roaming over the wind-swept park prairie
© Nigel Finney