Saskatchewan reintroduction sees historic bison birth

A female calf was born as part of a reintroduction effort at Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatchewan. ©Wanuskewin Heritage Park

For the first time since 1876, a wild bison calf has been born on the landscape of what is now Wanuskewin Heritage Park, an Indigenous-run conservation area in Saskatchewan. The female calf represents the latest chapter in the park’s effort to restore bison (Bison bison) to the area. Last December, 11 bison arrived from nearby Grasslands National Park and Yellowstone National Park to land that was once a bison hunting ground for the Cree, Assiniboine and Blackfoot people, among others.

“To hear the sound of hooves thundering across the prairies, accompanied by the drums that were part of the ceremonial protocols, it was so powerful. It was a once in a lifetime experience,” Darlene Brander, Wanuskewin’s chief executive, told the Guardian.

About 1,500 wild, genetically pure bison survive in Canada, all descended from roughly 50 individuals. Parks Canada hopes creating new herds will lead to more genetic resiliency.

Read more in the Guardian.