Species at Risk
Why protect the Wood Bison?
Wood Bison have keen hearing and a good sense
of smell, and are able to quickly detect changes in their environment.
© Parks Canada / WBNP Photo Gallery
A National Recovery Plan for Wood Bison was published in 2001. The goals
of the plan are to re-establish a minimum of four viable, healthy, free-roaming
wood bison populations in their original range and other herds where potential
exists, and to establish long-term cooperative management programs for wood
bison in which Aboriginal people and rural communities play an integral role.
The National Wood Bison Recovery Team includes representatives from the federal
government (Environment Canada and Parks Canada), provincial governments (Alberta,
British Columbia, Manitoba, Yukon, and Northwest Territories), as well as
a university/college representative and a member of the public.
What is Parks Canada doing to save the Wood Bison?
National Park of Canada protects the habitat
of the largest self-regulating free-roaming bison herd in the world. Bison
surveys are conducted annually to monitor the bison population. Two types
of surveys are done each year – a total count, and a segregation count.
The total count provides a population estimate, while the segregation count
provides an estimate of productivity (number of cows, calves, yearlings, bulls,
etc.). The numbers of wood bison in the park have been increasing since 1999.
Bison are often featured in public education programs, as well as in non-personal
media such as publications, exhibits, and interpretive signs. The Nyarling
Interpretive Pull-off in the park features information about bison, as do
exhibits at the Visitor Reception Centre. Visitors often experience viewing
the free roaming bison along the roads in the park, from the safety of their
vehicle, for a truly wild and special experience.