Wood Bison in Northwest Territories now considered threatened - APTN NewsAPTN News

Wood Bison in Northwest Territories now considered threatened

Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs
APTN National News
The Wood Bison in the Northwest Territories has been put on the threatened species list by a coalition of government, environmental and First Nations monitors.

The Conference of Management Authorities (CAM) reports that there are fewer than 2,500 animals across the NWT.

Despite being on the threatened list, there are no extra protections that come with the designation.

But the group is required to produce a recovery strategy within two years.

Jody Pellissey, chairperson for CAM noted that the recovery strategy will look at each of the three populations of bison in the north.

“Two of the populations are quite low while the third is stable, but there is not a significantly high population,” she said. “There is a lot of vehicle strikes which has been bad for the Mackenzie population, along with disease or the wood buffalo population.”

Anthrax took its toll on the Mackenzie wood bison population in 2012.

“Unfortunately there is not much to do about anthrax,” Pellissey said. “If caucuses are found you can deal with that caucuses to prevent the spread but actually stopping anthrax is not something you can do.”

Harvesting bison is not permitted in the Mackenzie area and the public is being asked to report any carcasses found to the NWT wildlife department.

Pellissey could not comment as to whether harvesting bison from the Nahanni and Slave River Lowlands will be closed in the future as part of the recovery strategy, but noted that each population will be looked at for its area-specific threats.