The first wild-born calves were spotted during an Alaska Department of Fish and Game aerial survey.
This marks the first time in 100 years that a bison calf was born in the Alaskan wild. This exciting milestone is part of a 20 year wood bison reintroduction project that sought to reestablish a wood bison population in the Innoko River region.
“It felt like having a baby shower or something. It’s just huge,” Cathie Harms, Alaska Department of Fish and Game regional program manager said. “It’s like the completion of the circle. We finally got animals into the wild and they are taking to it tremendously.”
SCI Foundation has aided the wood bison reintroduction effort for the past 10 years and is a member of the Wood Bison Restoration Advisory Group. Through its contributions, Safari Club has applied hunter dollars towards the maintenance of the bison holding facility, the care of the bison while in captivity, and the relocation of bison to the wild.
“We are excited to learn that the bison are successfully adapting to their new environment and that the herd is already growing,” SCI Foundation Director of Conservation, Matt Eckert, said. “Reestablishing the Alaskan herd is not only good for bison; it benefits other species and will eventually become a sustainable resource of Alaska’s people to manage. We just hope that the general public understands that hunters played a pivotal role in this wildlife conservation effort.”