Biologists Report First Wild Bison Birth in Alaska in at Least a Century
Alaska News Dispatch
May 1, 2015
Biologists monitoring the new Innoko River wood bison herd got a pleasant surprise last month during an aerial survey of the animals: a bison calf, the first born in the wild in at least 100 years.
The calf was seen April 23, according to Cathie Harms, Alaska Department of Fish and Game regional program manager. She said Fish and Game does the survey every few days, so it’s unclear when the calf was born, but it was likely only a few days before. And on Friday, biologists spotted yet another calf.
The biologists celebrated their discovery.
“It felt like having a baby shower or something. It’s just huge,” Harms said. “It’s like the completion of the circle. We finally got animals into the wild and they are taking to it tremendously.”
Harms said about 25 pregnant cows were moved from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage to the Innoko River region in March to establish the population. The animals have a nine-month gestation period, and Harms said many of the calves conceived at the center, 60 miles south of Anchorage, are expected to be born from late April through June.