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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Grant Program Helps Wood Bison Return to Wilds of Alaska

Wood bison
A wood bison eats straw. Photo by Rose Primmer/USFWS

Earlier this month, our State Wildlife Grant (SWG) Program provided more than $45 million in funding for state efforts to protect species and habitats in greatest need of conservation. More than $2.0 million went to Alaska, including more than $680,000 for work to reintroduce the threatened wood bison to Alaska.

The work, ongoing for more than 10 years, is at a key stage. On Sunday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game started flying wood bison from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Anchorage to the village of Shageluk in the Lower Innoko/Yukon Rivers area.

Wood bison are the largest native land mammal in North America, with males weighing 2,000 pounds. They historically ranged through northwestern Canada and into interior Alaska, but were last seen roaming free in Alaska in the early 1900s.

The reintroduction of wood bison would restore a key indigenous grazing animal to the northern ecosystem, restore biological and habitat diversity and natural processes, enhance subsistence opportunities, and provide benefits to Alaska’s people and economy.

Our SWG Program awards grants for projects that implement strategies to conserve priority species in all 50 states, commonwealths and territories. Congress appropriates funds for SWG each year. For more SWG accomplishments, visit our TRACS system.

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