This stinky work is paying off: according to recent tests, the herd’s parasite loads are very low. We have a Parks Canada bison steward watching over the herd 24 hours a day on week-long shifts in the backcountry. Another collaboration with the University of Calgary will help us monitor the impacts of bison on vegetation, as they graze their way across the landscape, expanding meadows and leaving wallows and nutrient-rich patties in their wake. Two other cows with newborns summited a nearby ridge overlooking the soft-release pasture. The DNR and the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley were ... of Belle Plaine died on January 12, 2021. Back in late September, one of our staff noticed one of two bison calves born in the wild this past June was no longer with its mother and the rest of the main herd. They are adapting well – exploring their new habitat with the grace that’s inherent in all wild animals. The vast majority of the herd seem content within 6 km of the initial release site, while a few bulls have ventured into a nearby valley and one bison bull has left the core reintroduction area and is currently on Province of Alberta lands just east of the national park. How long before all this polite sniffing gives way to something more serious? The copper-coloured bone had been exposed by the water and was now at risk of being washed away. He picks through pockets of vegetation in an old burned forest. One place we wanted to show the herd is the Lower Panther Valley - a landscape of rolling meadows that is snow-free most of the year and offers some of the best fall/winter grazing in the area. This area is within the park but outside the reintroduction zone, so we deploy our staff to apply gentle pressure to redirect his movements. They were held in a soft-release pasture to anchor them to the location and help prepare them for their new life in the mountains. Hopefully, the rut is successful and leads to an influx of new calves next spring to add to the two wild calves we observed so far this season. There’s always a bit of a commotion once the dart goes in, and it takes some effort to haze curious herdmates away from the darted animal as it falls asleep, but the rest of the operation is calm. With each new find, their work reveals the history of bison in Banff – building knowledge that will help guide decisions about their restoration. The additions are the first wild calves born and bred in the backcountry of Banff National Park in over a century. When they came back, they told us about what is was like, and they’ll tell you too: Javan Twoyoungmen: “Being invited out to the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains was an incredible experience....The Rockies hold a precious history with the Nakoda people, walking the path my ancestors once took was a memorable experience one that I will never forget”. It’s normal for bulls to separate from the herd during the winter months. This is a new experience for these bison, as they have never lived without fences. Banff’s bison have been free-roaming for more than 5 months! All animals appear to be healthy and are adapting well to life in the wild. Bison calves are born with bright reddish fur – giving them the nickname of “little reds”. Now, a clause in the Montana Water Rights Protection Act finally gives that management completely over to the tribe -- and the step is immediate as soon as the legislation is final. Images from remote cameras reveal information that would be difficult to observe in person, such as detailed health observations. In the initial weeks post-release, the herd spent their time in habitat at higher elevations – along talus slopes and shores of alpine lakes. Free Wifi . Interactions between bison and their predators, and, “Because they are important for spirituality”. In the fall of 2018 we learned about the Bison being reintroduced in Banff National Park. Even within the pasture, we observed the bison interacting with other species on a small scale, as they started to alter the landscape around them as a keystone species. Our grass-fed bison meat is both delicious and nutritious, and our sustainable farming practices improve the quality of life for these animals and the Earth. It’s a pretty big change for these animals. It’s official. In 2017, the Agency added a new chapter to this conservation story through the reintroduction of bison from Elk Island National Park to Banff National Park. Some birds, like the Brown Headed Cowbird, co-evolved with bison to pluck bugs from their back. Coupled with the water rights settlement, Fyant says it's a gift to the people. As part of a long-term monitoring program, our scientists collect dung samples from the field. 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