Plains bison roaming free in Banff National Park for first time in decades

Click to play video: 'Bison free-roaming Banff National Park’s backcountry'
Bison free-roaming Banff National Park’s backcountry
Thu, Aug 2: For the first time in over a century bison are free roaming in Banff National Park – Aug 2, 2018

Parks Canada says wild plains bison that were reintroduced to Banff National Park are now officially free-roaming animals.

Officials say 31 bison were released into a 1,200 square-kilometre zone along the park’s eastern slopes that features meadows and grassy valleys for grazing.

The animals disappeared from the region before the national park was created in 1885.

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Sixteen plains bison from Elk Island National Park were reintroduced in February 2017 into the remote Panther River Valley, about 40 kilometres north of Banff.

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Ten of the females had calves last year and five of those animals gave birth again this year.

Parks Canada says it will keep a close eye on the herd through electronic monitoring and staff on the ground.

There’s also fencing in the area to keep the bison from wandering out of the park.

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