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.

What's next?

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!

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