SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Alaska's first "wild" wood bison calves spotted


April 23, 2016
Saturday PM

(SitNews) - After vanishing from their wild habitats over a century ago, Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologists spotted the first wild-bred, wild-born, wood bison calf this week in Alaska's Lower Yukon/Innoko area. The animals were reintroduced into the Lower Innoko/Yukon Rivers area on April 3, 2015 to restore the species to its historic range in Alaska.

This calving season, two wild-born calves have been spotted and the ADF&G expects about 30 new calves this year. Calving season for the species runs from late April through mid-June.

jpg Alaska's first "wild" wood bison calves spotted

First Wood Bison calf of 2016 spotted
Photo courtesy the Alaska Department of Fish & Game

The ADF&G reported this monumental event is a milestone that marks the beginning of a viable, wild, and growing population of wood bison in Alaska, the only place in the United States where the species is currently found. The stock used to reintroduce wood bison to Alaska had been in captivity over many generations (since 1957) in order to save this unique northern subspecies from extinction. Some people had doubts that the bison would become wild again and prosper in their old homelands after such a long time behind fences with supplemental food, water, and shelter.

Since the wood bisons' reintroduction in spring of 2015, the Alaska wood bison have shown that they are right at home along the lower Yukon, and as of this week, calves are being born and the population is growing with no input or assistance from humans. It was not without difficulty. In the first few months after release, some bison died as natural selection chose the strongest and culled the weakest. Now, the bison fit for life in the wild remain, and robust young calves will soon increase the population of the 130 that were released.

This week marks the dawn of an era: the era of WILD wood bison conservation in the USA, with Alaska at the helm.



Wood bison finding home in Alaska By NED ROZELL
Sitnews - September 09, 2015

Wood Bison Transition to Wild Population
SitNews - May 15, 2015


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Fish & Game


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