After a century-long absence, wood bison were reintroduced to Alaska in March this year. The wood bison are the largest land mammal in North America, at approximately 2,000 lbs and 6 feet height at the shoulder.
The KRUA studios welcomed Scott Michaelis, Director of Marketing at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, to inform our listeners about the current state of the Wood Bison.
Difficult environment for wood bison
Despite nine wood bison perishing in ice this May, Michaelis is confident the wood bison will be able to survive the treacherous Alaskan environment.
“We have every expectation that we will see ten percent mortality rates (…) but with that ten percent we expect twenty percent increase in births,” he said.
Michealis also affirmed the necessity of keeping wood bison in the Alaskan plains. “Essentially the wood bison occupied a niche that no other animals have, they are the only large grazer we really have in Alaska,” he said.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center are currently planning on introducing elk onto Alaskan islands to aid the ecosystem and subsistence farms.