Assessment of Wood Bison in the NWT

Date: 
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Northwest Territories (NWT) Species at Risk Committee has released the results of the 2016 assessment of the status of wood bison in the NWT.

The Species at Risk Committee determined that wood bison are threatened in the NWT. This assessment was based on small numbers (about 2,500), population decline in the last three bison generations, and the cumulative effect of threats such as disease, increased predation, human-caused mortality, and various factors contributing to the loss of wood bison habitat.

Wood bison are important grazers and are a key component of the boreal forest ecosystem. Wood bison used to be found in the majority of the western NWT. Wood bison in the NWT can now be found only in three populations: the Mackenzie, the Nahanni, and the Greater Wood Buffalo Ecosystem. The NWT is home to 32% of the global population of wood bison.

Wood bison are the largest land mammal in North America. Large mature bulls can be 1.8 meters at the shoulder and weigh over 1,000 kg.

Details of the 2016 assessment and more information on wood bison can be found on the NWT species at risk website: www.nwtspeciesatrisk.ca.

The Species at Risk Committee, established by the Species at Risk (NWT) Act, is an independent committee of experts responsible for assessing the biological status of species at risk in the NWT.