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Wanuskewin Heritage Park welcomes 1st baby bison since 1876

Baby bison born at Wanuskewin Heritage Park
WATCH: Baby bison born at Wanuskewin Heritage Park.

A newborn bison is once again grazing the Prairies at Wanuskewin Heritage Park.

Eleven genetically-pure Plains bison from herds originating in the United States and Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park were introduced to Wanuskewin, located five kilometres north of Saskatoon, last December.

READ MORE: Farmers using bison to improve crop sustainability: ‘A joy to work with’

The first birth of a baby bison on the land happened on Earth Day, April 22.

This marks the first bison born on their ancestral land at Wanuskewin since 1876 and the subsequent extirpation of the species, officials said. Extirpation means that the species ceases to exist in one area, although it still exists elsewhere in the world.

Wanuskewin said the newborn female has genetic links to the Yellowstone National Park herd.

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More baby bison are expected this spring, officials said.

Plains bison back in Saskatoon after more than 100 years
Plains bison back in Saskatoon after more than 100 years

In February 2017, Wanuskewin launched a $40-million Thundering Ahead capital campaign to fund a bold renewal.

“Welcoming back the bison to Wanuskewin was a central pillar of the recent capital fundraising campaign. Every birth is part of the circle of life and signals progress,” campaign co-chair Felix Thomas said in a press release.

“We look forward to watching this baby thunder across the plains before long.”

Wanuskewin is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is expected to re-open during phase four of the provincial government’s Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan to start reopening from the coronavirus pandemic on May 4

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