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Wood bison to be reintroduced into Alaska wilderness by 2014


Currently, there are 130 wood bison living in the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Currently, there are 130 wood bison living in the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Staff writers

January 19, 2013 — A deal has been struck to reintroduce wood bison into the Alaska wilderness, decades after the species almost completely vanished.

The animals will be gradually reintroduced into the wild
The animals will be gradually reintroduced into the wild

Wood bison once roamed the wilderness in the millions but then, their numbers dwindled significantly, almost completely vanishing from Alaska by the start of the twentieth century.

Now, federal and state officials are working to reintroduce a herd of 130 wood bison into the Alaskan wild.

Currently, the animals reside in the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

Officials plan to gradually release the animals back into the wild by 2014.

Efforts to boost the wood bison population was met with some opposition.

Officials received complaints that protecting the species would pose a risk to oil drilling and mining activities.

In order to green light the project, officials had to classify the animals as a "nonessential experimental population", meaning that their reintroduction will not pose a risk to commercial development.

While habitat loss played a roll in the species' dramatic decline, scientists aren't sure why they almost completely disappeared from Alaska more than a century ago.

With files from Reuters




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