Wood Bison To Be Reintroduced In Alaska

"ANCHORAGE -- North America's largest living land mammals could roam the Alaska wilderness again by 2014, a century after they vanished in the state, under an agreement announced on Thursday to reintroduce wood bison to the lower Yukon River area."

"State and federal officials said the deal used provisions of the Endangered Species Act to classify the bison as a "nonessential experimental population" in Alaska - meaning that protecting them would not hinder development, including oil drilling or mining. The animal is classified as threatened.

The population will be managed by Alaska state wildlife officials, who ultimately plan to allow limited hunts, officials told a news conference on Thursday.

Wood bison, larger than plains bison, once ranged the boreal regions of northwestern Canada and interior Alaska. In the early 1800s, the population may have been 168,000 in Canada, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service."

Yereth Rosen reports for Reuters January 17, 2013.

Source: Reuters, 01/21/2013