Experts Release New Guidelines for Bison Restoration

The result of several years of collaboration with WWF and other partners, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently released American Bison: Status Survey and Conservation Guidelines 2010.

Once numbering 30-60 million in the Great Plains and then decimated in the 1800s, the American bison may be one of the most neglected wildlife icons in North America.  Increasing interest in bison conservation however, will make the next 10 to 20 years extremely significant for restoring wild populations of bison to their original roaming grounds.  American Bison: Status Survey and Conservation Guidelines 2010 offers important research and guidelines for future bison conservation in North America to ensure this restoration is carried out correctly.   

The publication contains useful information for anyone involved in bison management including:

  • The history of bison in North America
  • Maintaining proper genetic diversity and demographics within a bison population
  • Recognizing and managing against diseases that affect bison
  • Legal and policy issues surrounding bison conservation herds in North America
  • Guidelines for ecological restoration of bison

WWF’s Northern Great Plains program is committed to the restoration of American bison, a species listed as “near threatened” on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.  Successful restoration of this iconic species can only occur if responsible conservation guidelines are adopted by managers, policy makers and others interested in restoring and conserving bison.  As a means of reaching this goal, WWF and its partners initiated and contributed significantly to the completion of this document in hopes that its recommendations will become widely recognized in the field of bison conservation.

Other partners contributing to this project were Wildlife Conservation Society, University of Calgary, American Bison Society, U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. National Park Service.