ELK ISLAND NATIONAL PARK, FORT SASKATCHEWAN, AB, March 10, 2014 /CNW/ -
Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament, Vegreville - Wainwright on behalf of
the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Environment Minister and
Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced the transfer of
82 plains bison from Elk Island National Park to American Prairie
Reserve in Montana. This is the third such transfer of bison back to
their ancestral lands in Montana and another significant step for the
recovery of this iconic animal.
As a world leader in conservation, Parks Canada is a significant
contributor to Canadian bison conservation. Since 1906, Parks Canada
has provided bison from Elk Island National Park to conservation
projects in several national parks and conservation areas in western
Canada and in the United States. Elk Island National Park has been the
source herd for nearly all plains bison in Canada.
Through the Parks Canada Bison Initiative project, Prince Albert
National Park in Saskatchewan and Elk Island National Park in Alberta
are focussing their resources on enhancing bison habitat, improving
visitor opportunities to view and learn about bison, and creating
greater awareness of the conservation story of bison.
In 1906, the last large herd of wild plains bison on the Montana plains
was purchased by Canada. Their descendents live on in Elk Island
National Park, near Edmonton, Alberta, and have been the source ever
since of nearly all plains bison herds in Canada.
Returning plains bison to Montana, where the herd originated, represents
a "homecoming" and is a significant international conservation project
contributing to the continued survival of an iconic animal that is the
undisputed symbol of North American's interior plains.
Plains bison once ranged through the Great Plains of North America. They
provided many of life's necessities and were a preferred food source
for many North American First Nations people. Cultural and spiritual
practices honoured and celebrated bison. Bison were nearly made extinct
by agricultural and settlement activities. They have made a comeback as
a result of the efforts of concerned citizens, investment by the
Government of Canada and more than a century of work by the Parks
"Our Government is committed to protecting and preserving Canada's rich
biodiversity. The conservation and survival of plains bison have been
an important legacy of Canada's national park system and I am proud to
celebrate the latest transfer of bison from Canada to their ancestral
home in Montana."
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
"Our Government continues to take significant steps to protect Canada's
wildlife. Bison nearly vanished from North America, but they exist in
Canada today because of investment from the Canadian government and
more than a century of work by Parks Canada. I am proud of the work
our Government and Parks Canada have undertaken and look forward to
continuing to bring this incredible story to Canadians."
Member of Parliament, Vegreville - Wainwright
SOURCE: Parks Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Parks Canada Agency