Restoring North American Bison
Bison galloping, (credit: Eadweard Muybridge)
The day has been set aside to remember an animal of national importance, the American Bison. National Bison Day was established to commemorate this noble beast, virtually on the edge of extinction where millions had once roamed. National Bison Day recognizes the ecological, cultural, historical, and economic contributions provided by this wildlife icon.
The restoration of the North American bison (Bison bison) to original rangeland in Canada's Banff National Park is underway. The shaggy animals haven't been part of Canada's northern Great Plains since being exterminated at the beginning of the 20th Century. Coming back from the edge of extinction in the USA, the large beasts represent one of the great success stories in wildlife conservation. The Canadian's are trying to replicate the US success with a bison restoration program of their own. The early results of the reintroduction has been rewarding. As numbers grow it is expected that, similar to the rapid ecological adjustments observed when wolves were restored to Yellowstone National Park, returning Canadian bison to their prairie ranges will bring similar changes to the ecosystem in the Banff park as well.
Success in wildlife restoration projects requires mindful planning, smart engineering, an appreciation of animal behavior, good timing, and luck. WHB: