Plains bison reintroduction
Banff National Park
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.
The five-year Plains Bison Reintroduction Pilot resulted in a strong foundation of knowledge and practice to understand the feasibility of managing bison on the landscape. As a result, Parks Canada prepared a draft Report on the Bison Reintroduction Pilot 2017 – 2022, summarizing learnings, impacts, and concerns related to the pilot.
Over a 30-day engagement period, from November 9, 2022 – December 14, 2022, the Agency sought perspectives from Canadians on the future of bison management in Banff National Park. Indigenous groups, stakeholders, and the public were encouraged to review the draft Report and share their feedback.
The engagement process has now concluded, and Parks Canada will review and analyze the comments received to refine and finalize the Draft Report. Learnings from the project will set the stage for bison management over the next 10 years and beyond, informed by Indigenous groups, stakeholder and public input, and ongoing monitoring and research.
A summary of what we heard throughout the engagement program will be posted on Banff National Park’s website in spring 2023.
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