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Species At Risk Conservation Stories

Field Notes: Conserving Alberta’s Wild Species

Biodiversity is the variety of life in a given area. Species at Risk are the most vulnerable components of biodiversity, and face complex challenges.

It takes time and effort to address complicated issues such as these. It is a job that no one government, business or agency can implement and solve on their own. Challenges facing biodiversity and natural resources require cooperation, innovation and a sincere desire to reach out, understand and work with one another to find common ground.

Special Bison Area; bison lying in field with magpie on shoulder

Feature Story: Upper Red Deer River Special Bison Area

In August 2018, the Minister of Environment and Parks made a regulation- change to the Alberta Wildlife Regulation identifying bison as a "Subject Animal" within an area called the Upper Red Deer River Special Bison area.

This was done to support Parks Canada’s pilot project to evaluate the feasibility of reintroducing bison back into Banff National Park and provides bison in this area protection from unpermitted/unlicensed harvest or harm.

Where is the Upper Red Deer River Special Bison Area?

The Upper Red Deer River Special Bison Area is a 23,907 hectare (59,076 acre) area next to Banff National Park approximately 60 kilometres west of Sundre, Alberta, which fully encompasses the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch and some of the area nearby. Aside from the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, no other deeded lands are included in the Upper Red Deer River Bison Special Area.

Why was developing the Special Bison Area necessary?

The Alberta government is supporting the efforts of Banff National Park to reintroduce bison by providing a buffer area where bison are protected, should they leave the reintroduction area, and until Parks Canada staff can redirect them back into the park.

What does subject animal mean?

Subject Animal is a category of animal established in Alberta’s Wildlife Act and Regulation. It allows for the legal protection of any animal so designated, where that animal is currently of a status not otherwise protected.

Are there other areas like this in Alberta?

In addition to the Upper Red Deer River Special Bison area, Wood Bison in the Ronald Lake Special Bison Area are similarly protected as Subject Animals. There are currently no other subject animal designations in Alberta. Wood bison in a specified area in northwest Alberta are protected through their designation as Endangered Animals.

What do I do if I see a bison outside of the special bison area?

While Banff National Park staff are monitoring the bison and have placed electronic devices on most of the bison, if you observe a bison outside of Banff National Park please call:

  • Banff National Park Dispatch Line
    Phone: 403-762-1470

Older Stories

Amphibian Monitoring

Amphibians are a key part of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, they eat thousands of insects and their eggs provide a food source for fish and birds, but some species are disappearing at a rapid rate. Find out how Alberta is studying its indigenous amphibians and what Albertans can do to help their populations.

White-nose syndrome; little brown

White-nose Syndrome

In eastern North America, a fungal disease is killing bats hibernating in caves. White-nose syndrome has killed more than 6 million bats so far, and may eventually reach Alberta. Learn about bats, and what Alberta is doing to keep our bat population healthy and prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome.

  Updated: November 21, 2018
Baby’s Breath Eradication Project; picture of tiny cryptantha flowers

Restoring Tiny Cryptantha Habitat

When baby’s breath, an invasive plant species, threatened to overtake the southern Alberta habitat occupied by sensitive native plant species including the tiny cryptantha, a group of volunteers including industry and municipal representatives, researchers and naturalists came together in 2013 to work towards a solution.

Updated: May 5, 2014


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Updated: Nov 21, 2018