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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alaska Governor Approves Historic Wood Bison Reintroduction
Washington, D.C. – Safari Club International (SCI) and SCI Foundation would like to thank Governor Sean Parnell for approving the reintroduction of wood bison to the wilds of Alaska. The announcement was made on August 5, 2014, paving the way for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to release between 50-100 bison in the Lower Yukon/Innoko River Area in the spring of 2015.
“The reintroduction of wood bison to the wild of Alaska caps an amazing success story for this iconic species,” said Safari Club International Foundation President Joe Hosmer. “We appreciate the Governor’s determination to make this happen, the Native Alaskans who have been committed to its reintroduction, and the hunters who have financed the management and upkeep of the wood bison herd for the past eight years. Without our combined efforts, wood bison would not be free ranging in Alaska for future generations.”
The wood bison herd is currently held at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center outside of Anchorage. SCI Foundation has contributed $20,000, and the Alaska and Kenai Chapters of SCI have contributed $102,500 to transport, house, and feed the wood bison.
The reintroduction follows a decision made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate wood bison in Alaska as a nonessential experimental population. The wood bison regulation and reintroduction break new ground for the role that state management and hunting will play in experimental species recovery. For the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act, the FWS has designated state wildlife managers as the lead authority for experimental species management. The State of Alaska will be the primary manager of the population and will have full authority to determine if and when the wood bison can be hunted in the future.
SCI, SCIF and SCI’s Alaska chapters played significant roles in the success of this effort through funding of the transfer of the wood bison from Canada, maintenance of the herd in a temporary holding facility and advocacy of the legality of hunting playing a key role in the species’ restoration.
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