Project to Reestablish Historic Wood Bison Herds in Alaska Moves Forward

Wood Bison 2 resized

Tucson, AZ – ( Joseph Hosmer, President Safari Club International (SCI) Foundation announced that Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) will soon release 100 wood bison into the wild to culminate a 20 year reintroduction process.

SCI Foundation has funded this effort for the past 10 years and is part of the Wood Bison Restoration Advisory Group. Through its contributions of $150,000 dollars it has facilitated the maintenance of the bison holding facility as well as the care of the bison while in captivity.

“Our donations assisted with bringing bison from Alberta to Alaska, helped with expanding and outfitting the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC), and helped move bison to the release site,” SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer said. “We also assisted from our Washington DC Office, working with the federal government on the details of this restoration effort since it involves an endangered species. The regulatory processes necessary to move this rare species into the United States was complex, and there was a time when we thought it would never happen. That’s why this day is so special for us.”

Reintroduction is no small task. These massive animals were transported from their captive facility at the AWCC by cargo plane to the Innoko River refuge. The animals are currently in a holding facility at the release site to allow them to get comfortable with their new habitat before the official reintroduction.

The initial release will be gradual, as the wood bison will be carefully monitored by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. They will support the herd as they acclimate to a wild environment and research the effects of the reintroduction. The plan is to add bison to the herd until 2017 to ensure long-term population survival.

“Reestablishing the Alaska herd will not only benefit other species, it will eventually become a resource of Alaska to manage sustainably for the benefit of the people. SCI Foundation prides itself on being First for Wildlife. We are immensely proud to be involved in this monumental effort and to see wood bison released back in to their native habitat,” Hosmer said.

Safari Club International Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that funds and directs worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education. Any contribution may tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code section 170(c) as a charitable contribution to the extent permitted by law. Tax deductible amount of gift is reduced by the “Fair market Value” of any goods, services, or advantages that a sponsor receives for the donation. EIN #86-029209