Wood bison move closer to release in Alaska


by Your Alaska Link News Team

The reintroduction of wood bison to the wilds of Alaska is a step closer.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros tells the reporters that the agency Wednesday planned to publish a rule in the Federal Register declaring the animals exempt from the Endangered Species Act.

The state had balked at reintroducing the species if wood bison were governed by endangered species law because it could hinder resource development.

Wood bison disappeared from Alaska for unknown reasons. They're larger than plains bison thriving near Delta.

Stock from Canada was brought in but held at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood while officials haggled over rules.

State Division of Wildlife acting director Doug Vincent-Lang says wood bison could be released in southwest Alaska next spring.