Confirmed Anthrax Outbreak in Remote Area of Wood Buffalo National Park

Issued: July 28, 2022

FORT SMITH, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, JULY 28, 2022 – Parks Canada continues to monitor an anthrax outbreak in remote areas of Wood Buffalo National Park. The risk to the public remains very low.

  • Samples sent to a lab early last week came back positive today, confirming the presence of anthrax in at least one deceased bison.
  • Resource Conservation staff at Wood Buffalo National Park continue to conduct routine surveillance flights in the park to identify new mortalities and monitor the extent of the outbreak. So far, observed carcasses are located in remote areas of the park and we don’t foresee any risk to the public.
  • A Parks Canada Incident Management Team (IMT) has been mobilized to assist in the disposal of carcasses at Sweetgrass Station, due to their proximity to facilities at Sweetgrass.
  • Additional deceased bison have been observed in the Lake One, Trident Creek/Trident Meadows, Peace Point west junction, and Flat grass areas of the park. A total of 59 mortalities have been confirmed and are suspected to be caused by anthrax.

Parks Canada is working closely with relevant provincial, territorial and federal organizations, Indigenous governments, local communities, and visitors to ensure the health and safety of the public and park staff are protected. As a precautionary measure, area closures are in place for the Sweetgrass, Trident Creek/Meadows, and Peace Point West Junction areas.

Fort Smith residents are asked to please avoid the Wood Buffalo National Park firebase, located next to the Fort Smith airport, as Parks Canada's Incident Management Team works to manage the situation. Additionally, incident personnel are staging operations out of Moose Island (Carlson's Landing) in Wood Buffalo National Park. Helicopters are active in both areas. Please avoid these areas to allow for personnel to safely complete their work.

If you come across a dead animal in the park, do not touch it. Leave the area immediately and report the location to the Wood Buffalo National Park Duty Officer at (867) 872-0404.

Please be aware of area closures within the park and review attachments accordingly. For up-to-date information on the anthrax outbreak or any temporary closures in Wood Buffalo National Park, please go to https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nt/woodbuffalo/info/anthrax.

Information:

Alyssa Etsell
A/External Relations Manager
Southwest NWT Field Unit
Parks Canada
867-621-0764