Bison Returning to Their Ancestral Grounds

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There is a lot of activity going on at Elk Island National Park in Alberta. Bison are being branded after going through some medical testing, and receiving vaccinations, before their long journey to a home they've never known, but that their ancestors came from.

In 1907 bison from a Montana ranch were transported to Elk Island National Park. Elk Island is home to pure prairie bison, bison that have no cattle genes. 70 bison have been selected to be moved to the American Prairie Reserve on the Great Plains north of the Missouri River, in Montana. After 2 months of quarantine that is. The American Prairie Reserve is paying $350 a head, so $14,000 for these 70 bison. However the costs of feed and vet bills during the quarantine will far exceed that.

The bison that are selected are young, about 7 months old. The younger ones are easier to treat and transport. There are 35 males and 35 females. Elk Island National Park has to get rid of some of their bison annually to try and keep the herd at a sustainable number of 680 head. There are also wood bison, that are usually sent to colder climate areas such as Alaska or Russia.

"People really, really love bison," Bryce Christensen, reserve manager for the American Prairie Foundation, says. "And the vision of the thundering herds," Dennis Jorgensen, a World Wildlife Fund U.S. officer for the Northern Great Plains Program says. From The Vancouver Sun.