A stunning video shows the moment a herd of wood bison thundered into the Alaskan wilderness, the culmination of a decades-long effort to reintroduce the shaggy animals into the United States.

The herd of 100 cows and young bison were released near Shageluk, Alaska, on Friday by the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The AWCC has cultivated the herd since the first 13 bison were brought in from Canada in 2003, in hopes of reestablishing a wood bison population in the U.S. The huge animals, which can weigh up to 2,250 pounds, have been extinct in Alaska for more than 100 years due to overhunting and habitat loss.

This group of rumbling pioneers, who were flown to the release site on a cargo plane, have been outfitted with radio collars and will be closely monitored for the first few years to ensure their nascent herd is thriving.

As the video shows, they were led out of their temporary pens and across the frozen Innoko River by biologist Tom Seaton's snowmobile; the bison were conditioned to follow the snowmobile during their time at AWCC after learning that it handed out food.

The cows, many of whom are pregnant, and young bison will be joined by some of the adult males shortly. Biologists were concerned that placing angry bulls on a plane wasn't the best idea, so they'll be brought in by boat a few months down the road.


Responses to "Extinct' Bison Filmed Thundering Back Into The Wild (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Holy moly that's a scary sight to have behind you.

  2. I can't imagine what the plane ride was like, but it's wonderful to see them in the snow. I hope they all have long lives... including the guy on the snowmobile. He has quite a following.

  3. So, just how to you stop them from following the snowmobile back from wherever he's leading them?

  4. What a glorious sight….!

  5. Anonymous says:

    For how long and when will the feedings continue? Are they going to intervene when there is illness or injury? If they've been conditioned to follow a snowmobile for feeding; how will they learn to forage on their own and what happens if someone inadvertently runs through their path?

  6. Wow! Fantastic sight. I hope the reintroduction ends as a long term success.

  7. Unknown says:

    Fantastic! But how do cultivate a genetically healthy herd with only 13 contributors?

  8. Unknown says:

    Some stories in the world are very good,this is one such.

  9. gaylebonewitz says:

    its always amazing and wonderful to see animals go from extinct to thriving in their natural habitat, what a thunderous day that must have been, my kind of thunder, live on bison live on

  10. Catarina says:

    Good job :)

  11. DREAMOKWA says:

    longue vie au troupeau et prospère !!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful, ,,,beautiful animals ,back in the wild ..

  13. Anonymous says:

    If they disappeared because of habitat loss, how much habitat will they have now? I think sometimes nature should be let alone and allow to determine it's own course. I feel sorry for these guys and their progeny.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm. Habitat loss and over-hunting. What part of this just sucks ass big time??? I'd love to watch the documentary on how the USA has rectified Alaskas "habitat loss". Oh,- so no such film exists?? Then, that just leaves "over-hunting", on the table. So, in essence, Canada has so thoughtfully donated so many bison to the USA so they can once again go out and kill them all. Once again. Because that seems to be all Americans are good at. Killing. And wiping out animal species with little regard for tomorrow. Wish they'd just turn on themselves and be done with it. The world would be a much safer place without them.....

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