On February 6, 2017, officers with Parks Canada celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation by relocating 16 wild bison from their protective home at Elk Island National Park to their native land at Banff National Park. The bison had been removed from Banff by the Canadian government in the early 1900s due to threat of extinction due to overhunting. The return of these noble animals to their original home is part of a 5-year project to repopulate the species and re-establish cultural, economic and environmental ties.
Although free-roaming bison have been absent from the landscape for over a century, they were historically dominant grazers that helped shape the ecosystems of what is now Banff National Park. The restoration of bison to Banff will return a keystone species to the landscape, foster cultural reconnection, inspire discovery, and provide stewardship and learning opportunities. In the long-term, by re-establishing a new wild population within its historical range in Banff National Park, this will be a key contribution to national and international bison conservation efforts. …This is the first step in the five-year pilot project that will inform future decisions regarding restoring wild bison in Banff over the long-term.
— Banff National Park (@BanffNP) February 6, 2017
— Minister C. McKenna (@ec_minister) February 6, 2017