Alaskan Wood Bison Make History

bisoninstreamfirstforwildlife052114The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently finalized a rule that designates an experimental population of wood bison in Alaska. The rule also directs the reintroduction of those wood bison to three locations in the interior of the state. The wood bison regulation breaks new ground for the role that state management and hunting will play in experimental species recovery. For the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act, the FWS has designated state wildlife managers as the lead authority for experimental species management. The State of Alaska will be the primary manager of the population and will have full authority to determine if and when the wood bison can be hunted in the future. SCI, SCIF and SCI’s Alaska chapters played significant roles in the success of this effort through funding of the transfer of the wood bison from Canada, maintenance of the herd in a temporary holding facility during the last several years and advocacy of the legality of hunting playing a key role in the species’ restoration. The final rule goes into effect on June 6, 2014.

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