In November 2013, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), an independent scientific committee, had a meeting to evaluate the conservation status of several species, including Plains bison and Wood bison. This committee meets twice annually to assess the conservations status of species in Canada and recommends any changes to the Minister of the Environment. Plains bison were assessed in 2004 as Threatened and their status did not change through the most recent meeting due to their low numbers and projected decline. Wood bison only occur in the wild in Canada, but recent increases resulted in a recommended change in status from Threatened to the less pressing status of Special Concern. However, the latter species remains at risk because all current herds are managed to reduce or constrain numbers and because of the small herd sizes they are susceptible to wipe-outs due to disease or severe weather events.
Click here for an article that our Justina Ray wrote for the Canadian Bison Association, on the current conservation status of bison in Canada.
Click here to read about how bison recovery has affected Canadian ecosystems.
Photo credits: Banner | William Halliday © WCS Canada