Parks Canada

Parks Canada
American Prairie Foundation

American Prairie Foundation

January 24, 2012 14:30 ET

Parks Canada Transfers Bison to American Prairie Foundation Lands in Montana

Historic Trip Completes Full Circle Journey for North America's Plains Bison

FORT SASKATCHEWAN, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Jan. 24, 2012) -

Editors' Note: Two photos are associated with this press release.

On behalf of the Honorable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Mr. Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament for Red Deer, today announced the transfer of 70 plains bison to American Prairie Foundation. The project supports the foundation's internationally significant work in grasslands conservation and the restoration of bison to the Great Plains north of the Missouri River in north-eastern Montana.

"The Government of Canada's commitment to conservation initiatives is not limited by international borders," said Minister Kent. "Elk Island National Park hosts recovery herds for both the plains and wood bison; its herds are disease-free and will continue to be the priority conservation herds in Canada for supplying bison to national and international projects."

In the early 1900s, the last large herd of wild bison on the Montana plains, the Pablo-Allard herd, was purchased by the Government of Canada and moved to Alberta forming the herd at what would become Elk Island National Park.

"This historic transfer achieves a full-circle journey for North America's plains bison," said Mr. Dreeshen. "In providing plains bison to American Prairie Foundation, the Government of Canada is contributing to a significant international conservation project that supports the continued survival and well-being of an iconic and majestic animal."

In 2010, Elk Island National Park provided 93 plains bison to the herd at American Prairie Reserve. The 2012 transfer will increase American Prairie Foundation's herd to approximately 210 animals. American Prairie Foundation seeks to restore bison to their original habitat on American Prairie Reserve lands, providing visitors a chance to witness the majestic species that captivated explorers and played a central role in the culture and spirituality of Aboriginal people.

"Bison are integral to achieving our vision of a vast prairie reserve that is a fully-functional ecosystem," said Sean Gerrity, American Prairie Foundation President. "Parks Canada's legacy of bison conservation means that our goal is not only achievable, but it is also being realized right now."

Elk Island National Park has played a key role in the conservation of both plains and wood bison since 1907, a year after Elk Park was established and six years before it was formally established as a national park. Since that date, Elk Island National Park has successfully relocated 778 plains bison to conservation programs in Canada and recently the United States.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides vital assistance to Parks Canada, working to maintain and certify the disease-free status of the herd.

Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education and appreciation of all Canadians, today and in the future. Through a network of 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, Parks Canada invites Canadians, and people from around the world, to experience Canada's treasured natural and historic places.

For more information on Elk Island National Park, please visit

Information on American Prairie Foundation Reserve is available at

To view the photos associated with this press release, please visit the following links:

Contact Information