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Bison return to Banff National Park’s backcountry after a 140 year absence

Bison Belong and Y2Y celebrate Parks Canada historic announcement of the return of 16 wild plains bison to Banff National Park’s backcountry.

Bison return to Banff National Park’s backcountry after a 140 year absence

Bison Belong is celebrating Parks Canada historic announcement of the return of 16 wild plains bison to Banff National Park’s backcountry. This is a landmark event for the culture, history and ecology of the park.

“Banff National Park played a key role in saving the plains bison from extinction more than 100 years ago and now is leading the way by restoring them to the wild to perform their critical role in the ecosystem. Today is a great day in the history of wildlife conservation in North America and a great day in the history of Canada’s National Parks”, says Harvey Locke, Trustee of Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation and author of The Last of the Buffalo Return to the Wild, 2016.

Locke adds, “It rights the historical wrong of the elimination of this magnificent animal. The return of bison to the landscape represents hope for nature and is an important step toward reconciliation with Indigenous people.”

“Our on-going relationship with Buffalo is so close and so embodied in us that Buffalo is the essence of our holistic eco-cultural life-ways. The restoration of wild bison to Banff National Park is a great leap forward for buffalo peoples,” says Dr. Leroy Little Bear, Blood Tribe member and facilitator of the historic 2014 Buffalo Treaty, signed by 21 First Nations from Western Canada and the U.S.

Many people from diverse walks of life worked hard for this day including more than 50 Bow Valley businesses.

“When we discovered two 6,000 year-old buffalo skulls under our building in 2004 we were excited,” says Banff businessman Peter Poole, Trustee of the Luxton Foundation.

“Our business was pleased to support the movement. There were fun elements, like baking bison cookies at our Wild Flour Bakery, but what’s really meaningful is that through the bison restoration effort we are starting to honour the deep knowledge of Ktunaxa, Blackfoot, Nakoda, Cree, Métis, and Dene Elders of this valley and the culture of the buffalo. As a community, I think we’re starting to listen.”

“We salute Banff National Park for taking this step in bringing a quintessential North American species back to this region,” says Jodi Hilty, President and Chief Scientist of Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. “Our vision of protecting the Yellowstone to Yukon region means connecting and restoring landscape, including animals unique to those areas.” Hilty has been involved for many years in promoting the ecological recovery of bison across North America.

“Bison Belong is a social movement to bring wild buffalo back to Banff National Park. People from across Canada and around the world are celebrating with us today. It is a great ecological and cultural gift to the planet on the 150th birthday of Canada,” says Bison Belong coordinator, Marie-Eve Marchand.

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For more information and interviews Marie-Eve Marchand, Bison Belong coordinator
Cell: 403 760-1223 |

About Bison Belong and the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation:

The Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation, based in Banff, Alberta, is dedicated to preserve and commemorate the Luxton Legacy. In 2009 the foundation became engaged in bison restoration in Banff National Park by supporting the creation of a community effort to bring the bison back in the park bringing forward the ecological, cultural and historic values of bison in Banff National Park. More information at bisonbelong.ca.