Wood bison are classified as At Risk in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Also see the Status of the Wood Bison in Alberta report at:
This species is also listed as Endangered under the Wildlife Act, but only in a defined portion of north-western
Alberta (the range of the Hay-Zama herd). See more information on this species and the assessment and listing process at:
- Only free-roaming wood bison found in northwestern Alberta's Bison Management Area are considered to be wildlife, and receive
protection under the Wildlife Act. It is illegal to hunt, harm, or traffic in the bison within this area.
- Free-roaming wood bison in and around Wood Buffalo National Park carry tuberculosis and brucellosis (introduced livestock
diseases). To protect the Hay-Zama herd, and domestic livestock in northern Alberta, bison outside of the Bison Management
Area receive no protection.
- Beginning in 2008, a carefully-controlled hunt of the Hay-Zama herd was started, to control population growth, and to undertake
disease surveillance. If the Hay-Zama recovery herd becomes infected, it will probably have to be destroyed. Until the disease
threat from Wood Buffalo National Park can be eliminated, these control measures will probably need to be continued.
For more information, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:
- A disease containment approach has been developed to reduce the risk of tuberculosis and brucellosis spreading to domestic livestock and to the Hay-Zama herd. For details, see:
Are wood bison really wood bison?
Historically, there were two subspecies of bison found in Alberta – wood bison in northern boreal areas, and plains bison to the south. Although there has been some intermixing, the wild bison currently found in Alberta’s far north are considered wood bison.
Plains bison once occupied more open areas further south in Alberta (and across the Great Plains of North America). However, they remain extirpated as a free-roaming species from their original range in the province. Pure plains bison are currently found in Alberta only in a portion of Elk Island National Park.
Updated: Jan 8, 2014