Alaska’s Wood Bison Herd Thriving as Calving Season Gets Underway
A newborn wood bison nurses atop a beaver hut in Southwest Alaska, April 13, 2017. (Alaska Department of Fish and Game photo)
Laurel Andrews, Alaska Dispatch News
It’s baby animal season and Alaska’s wild wood bison herd has delivered in a big way.
So far this spring, 19 calves have been born to the herd, the only one of its kind in the nation. More calves are expected through August.
And the herd appears healthy as it enters its third summer navigating Alaska’s wilderness after generations of living in captivity, said Tom Seaton, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist overseeing the wood bison project.
“All the signs indicate that they are really prospering,” Seaton said.
More calves have been born so far this year than by the same time in 2016. The latest count was done on May 2, with another planned for next week, Seaton said.
About 130 bison were released near the village of Shageluk during the summer of 2015. That first year, more than a dozen died. Nine bison drowned in less than a week. More perished from stresses of adapting to wild environment, Seaton said.