The bison were transported via shipping containers. Photo: Courtesy of Parks Canada It’s been reported that as many as 30 million bison roamed the plains before the species nearly became extinct due to overhunting.“Today is a great day in the history of wildlife conservation in North America and a great day in the history of Canada’s National Parks,” Harvey Locke, trustee of Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation, told the Calgary Herald.“It rights the historical wrong of the elimination of this magnificent animal. The return of bison to the landscape represents hope for nature and is an important step toward reconciliation with indigenous people.”RELATED: Bison survives lightning strike, thrives in wildlife refuge; photoThe Herald reported that the Samson Cree Nation hosted “a send-off ceremony” at Elk Island National Park, the origin of the 16 transplanted bison, and other First Nations celebrated the return of bison to Banff National Park.“The restoration of wild bison to Banff National Park is a great leap forward for buffalo peoples,” Leroy Little Bear, a Blood Tribe member integral to the historic 2014 Buffalo Treaty signed by 21 First Nations, told the Calgary Herald.image:×670.jpg

Bison make historic return to Banff National Park. Photo: Courtesy of Parks Canada image:
The 16 bison will be monitored for 16 months in an enclosed pasture before being released into the reintroduction zone. Photo: Courtesy of Parks CanadaThe bison were loaded into five shipping containers and trucked overnight to near the border of Banff National Park. From there the bison-filled containers were airlifted by helicopter to Panther Valley. The bison were released into an enclosed pasture where they will be monitored for 16 months by Parks Canada officials.If all goes as planned, in June 2018 the herd will be released into a 745-square-mile reintroduction zone in the remote eastern slopes of Banff where they will “fulfill their missing role in the ecosystem,” Parks Canada said.Read more at