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Plains bison herd returns to Waterton Lakes National Park

A herd of plains bison have officially returned to Waterton Lakes National Park.

Six plains bison from Elk Island National Park were brought into the Waterton Lakes National Park’s bison paddock last Friday, February 19th.

Blackfoot Confederacy Elders from the Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika Nations welcomed the bison back to the park with a private, physically-distanced prayer ceremony to bless the animals and the land.

“The bison will reside in the winter section of the paddock until late spring when they move to the summer section. At that time, visitors will be able to drive the summer paddock loop road to view the bison, which is a popular visitor experience,” said Parks Canada.

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A small herd of plains bison have been maintained by Waterton Lakes National Park since 1952.

“The rough fescue prairie in the park’s bison paddock – after being burned by the intense Kenow wildfire – has regrown enough to sustain the herd while maintaining the health of the grasslands.”

Earlier in February, another 40 bison were also relocated from Elk Island National Park to the Kainai First Nation.

“We are honoured to play a part in reconciliation and collaborate in this special initiative returning plains bison to the prairies. Bison play integral roles in Indigenous cultures across North America.”

MORE: Plains Bison at Waterton Lakes National Park (Parks Canada)

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