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Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: EINP 2008-01

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. EINP 2008-01 is issued.

Activity necessary or beneficial to the species

Elk Island National Park is a fenced environment preventing both the dispersal and predation of large mammals. Large mammal populations, including wood bison, must be actively managed within defined carrying capacity limits in order to maintain population health and park ecological integrity. Herd and range carrying capacity monitoring indicates that approximately 100 wood bison should be removed from the population in 2008.

Start Date: 2008-01-01   End Date: 2010-12-31

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Alberta

Affected Species:

a)all reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered and the best solution has been adopted; - Parks Canada’s Directive on the Disposal of Surplus Wildlife (2000) identifies priority options for controlling a wildlife population’s size. These options range from supporting conservation of the species, conservation research and public education, to public sale or destruction. Restoration of the species in the wild and maintenance of genetic diversity are the highest priorities for wood bison in the National Wood Bison Recovery Plan (2001). In 2008, 50 wood bison will be transferred from the National Wood Bison Conservation Herd in Elk Island National Park of Canada for release to the wild in the State of Alaska under a Canada-USA agreement. An additional 20 wood bison will be transferred to the Western Veterinary College, University of Saskatoon for ongoing research into reproductive technologies in wood bison to aid in the restoration of disease-free wood bison in Canada. The remaining surplus wood bison (approx. 30) will be sold at public auction. b)all feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity on the species or its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals; and - Bison are baited into a state-of-the-art handling facility at Elk Island National Park. The facility is specifically designed for bison handling and minimizes stress and risk of injury to animals and people. Bison are handled, weighed and disease tested by experienced Parks Canada personnel and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) veterinarians. Handling follows the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) and Elk Island National Park guidelines. Bison to be transported are quarantined in a holding facility, and the remaining animals are released back into the park. Animals to be transported will be loaded into specialized trailers for their journey to Alaska, Saskatoon or the live sale facility. Animal handling specialists from EINP and the CFIA will accompany the bison to Alaska. Alaskan handlers will be trained at the EINP before departure and at the holding site in Alaska. c)the activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. - The National Wood Bison Conservation herd is maintained at EINP under a management plan that maximizes genetic diversity and health of the herd while maintaining ecological integrity of the park. Animals surplus to the herd are preferentially used for conservation efforts guided by the National Wood Bison Recovery Plan (2001). Management of a disease-free, genetically diverse herd of wood bison at EINP benefits the conservation and recovery of the subspecies in the wild in Canada. The establishment of a wood bison population in Alaska will contribute to global security of the subspecies.

Contact Person(s)
Delinda Ryerson
Manager, Resource Conservation
Parks Canada
Elk Island National Park
Site 4, RR1
Fort Saskatchewan, AB
T8L 2N7
Tel: 780-099-2977