Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wood Bison Restoration Project Gathers Momentum

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on April 17 announced completion of "Wood Bison Restoration in Alaska: A Review of Environmental and Regulatory Issues and Proposed Decisions for Project Implementation". This step clears the way for expected importation of wood bison stock from Canada in the winter of 2007-2008, with a view to releasing animals into the wild by spring 2010 or 2011.

According to a letter from Interior Region Supervisor David James, "this Environmental Review represents a significant milestone in the department's efforts to evaluate wood bison restoration in Alaska. Public comment on this report will have a major influence in determining whether the department continues to pursue wood bison restoration in Alaska and, if so, where we attempt to restore this historically important species."

The Department issued both a complete environmental review and a less detailed summary of that review. All the documents can be accessed on the wood bison restoration page on the ADFG website.


jaws said...

I have read that wood bison, extinct on the East coast of the lower 48, could digest lignen (woody material) rather than just cellulose as in standard bison and ruminants.
Is this true of wood bison to be established in Alaska? Is this the same animal?


David M Johnson said...

Environment Canada reports that "Wood Bison feed mainly on sedges and grasses, but also on the leaves and bark of trees and shrubs (primarily willow) and lichens."

I don't know the subspecies of the extirpated East Coast bison, but wood bison are better adapted to a partially woody diet than plains bison.