Government funds effort to return bison to Banff National Park

Large Plains Bison grazing in Elk Island National Park. © C. Wallace

Banff – Parks Canada officially confirmed today that the plains bison will be reintroduced to Banff National Park, an investment that forms part of Canada’s National Conservation Plan (NCP).

The government promises an investment of $6.4 million over five years to bring bison back to Canada’s oldest national park, an effort that will contribute to the NCP by taking concrete action in two priority areas: restoring ecological integrity and connecting Canadians with nature.

The project will reintroduce a small herd of plains bison, a keystone species that has been absent from the park since its establishment, but which once played a key role in the park’s montane ecosystem.

Through this project, Parks Canada will provide Canadians with an opportunity to connect with this iconic species. In addition, Parks Canada will invite First Nations to share traditional knowledge of plains bison, and participate in stewardship, management and celebrations and will engage students and volunteers to participate in bison research, monitoring and stewardship activities.

Conservation and restoration initiatives in our national parks provide amazing opportunities for Canadians to connect with nature and for stakeholders and partners — including Aboriginal partners — to work together. With these projects, Parks Canada is standing up for Canada by restoring native species and natural ecological processes back into these jewels of the Canadian landscape and therefore creating opportunities for visitors to connect with nature.