Three bison calves were born in Banff National Park, and 7 more are soon expected. The news brings hope that the $6.4 million reintroduction plan by Parks Canada is working. In February, Parks Canada introduced 16 bison which included 10 pregnant cows and six young bulls. Before the reintroduction, bison had been almost extinct with the exception of a few remaining on government-controlled land and those that are farmed for meat.
Parks Canada reintroduced 16 bison to Banff National Park in February to propagate the species and restore natural ecosystems. The first calf was born on Saturday, which happened to be Earth Day. A total of 12 calves are expected with the last 7 due during the remainder May or June.
The bison are being confined and observed in the “soft-release” paddock. They will be released into a larger area of the park in the summer of 2018 where they will interact with other animals and search for food. Park rangers assume that the cows will mate this August and that a second generation will be born before the cows are introduced into the larger area.
An estimated 30 million bison used to roam about Canada until they were almost hunted to extinction in the 1800s. The small amount of remaining bison live on government-owned land or farms. The birth of the calves is a sign that bison populations might bounce back from their near extinct levels in a setting where they will eventually be allowed to live free.
Banff National Park shared the Birth Announcement on their Facebook Page