EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2011) - On behalf of the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Mr. Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville—Wainwright, today announced that 30 wood bison will be provided to the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russia, to support the conservation of this globally at-risk animal. The bison will join a small herd that has grown from 30 bison provided by Elk Island National Park in 2006 as a foundation herd to help restore the bison population in the area.
"The Government of Canada's commitment to the recovery of species at risk is not limited by international borders," said Mr. Benoit. "In providing wood bison to the Republic of Sakha, we are contributing to the continued survival and well being of an iconic and majestic animal that was once on the brink of extinction."
Elk Island National Park has played a key role in the conservation of both plains bison and wood bison since 1907, a year after Elk Park was established and six years before it was formally established as a national park. Some of the world's last plains bison were brought to the park and the species began its recovery from the brink of extinction.
Wood bison, a species at risk classified as "threatened", were brought to the park in 1965 for protection and as a foundation herd to rebuild species numbers. Since that date, Elk Island National Park has successfully relocated 855 wood bison to conservation programs in Alaska, Canada and Russia. Parks Canada works cooperatively with Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarians and the Canadian Wildlife Service to manage the herd.
"In 2011, Parks Canada celebrates 100 years since it was established as the Dominion Parks Service, the first federal agency in the world managing national parks," said Minister Kent. "Elk Island National Park's wildlife conservation programs are among the contributions that have made Parks Canada a recognized leader in the conservation and preservation of natural and cultural heritage."
Parks Canada works to ensure Canada's historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.
For more information on Elk Island National Park, please visit parkscanada.gc.ca.