Plains bison reintroduction
Wild bison return to Canada’s first national park
Parks Canada is pleased to announce that bison now roam free in Banff National Park. After an absence of over a century, the return of wild plains bison is a historic, ecological and cultural triumph.
On July 29, 2018, we released 31 bison from the soft-release pasture in Panther Valley, and they now roam a 1200 sq km reintroduction zone. They are fulfilling their role in the ecosystem as “keystone species” by creating a vibrant mosaic of habitats that benefits bugs to birds to bears, and hundreds of other species.
The Bison Reintroduction Pilot Project has returned a key native species to the landscape, re-established Indigenous connection to bison, as well as continuing to contribute to national bison conservation efforts.
Overall, the bison are doing well in the 1,200 square kilometre re-introduction zone. The current bison herd is estimated to be between 85 and 90 animals, which includes 16 new calves born in the spring of 2022.
Learnings from the five-year pilot will inform future decisions regarding the feasibility of managing a wild bison herd in Banff National Park over the long-term. Parks Canada is currently preparing a summary report on the five-year pilot project. This summary report is expected to be released in the winter of 2022.
Look for project updates on the blog in winter of 2022!