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Bison


Flushing, N.Y. – The stars and stripes will be waving, firework displays will be bursting and the smell of barbecue will be in the air on Independence Day this year. While all this is happening, WCS’ Queens Zoo, where all animals are native to the Americas, will be the perfect place to visit this holiday weekend. All exhibits at the Queens Zoo are completely outdoors. The wildlife and exhibits here share the wild heritage of the American continents with visitors from around the globe, making it ...
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Program Would Protect Habitat While Connecting American Families with the Natural LandscapeWashington, D.C. (April 19, 2010) – John F. Calvelli, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, attended the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors, hosted by Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to discuss the conservation ...
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Illegal hunting for meat and pet trade is wiping out critically endangered species Reports of “truckloads” of tortoises being shipped to local marketsEntire forests now devoid of tortoises   NEW YORK (April 5, 2010) –A team of biologists from the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported today that Madagascar’s radiated tortoise – considered one of the most beautiful tortoise species – is rapidly nearing extinction due to ram...
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Gland, Switzerland, Tuesday 2 March 2010 (IUCN) – The next 10 to 20 years could be extremely significant for restoring wild populations of American bison to their original roaming grounds. But for this to happen, more land must be made available for herds to roam free, government policies must be updated and the public must change its attitude towards bison. A new publication by IUCN, ‘American Bison: Status Survey and Conservation Guidelines 2010’, reports on the current status of American bison, in the wild and in conservation herds, and makes recommendations on how to ensure that the species is conserved for the future.

“Although the effort to restore bison to the plains of North America is considered to be one of the most ambitious and complex undertakings in species conservation efforts in North America, it will only succeed if legislation is introduced at a local and national level, with significant funding and a shift in attitude towards the animal,” says Simon Stuart, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission.

Five hundred years ago, tens of millions of American bison roamed free on the plains of North America, from Alaska to northern Mexico. Now the American bison – which includes both plains and wood bison - is listed as Near Threatened on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species™. As of 2008, there were approximately 400,000 bison in commercial herds in North America, some 93 percent of the continental population. But little progress has been made in recent decades to increase the number of animals in conservation herds, which are managed carefully for their genetic diversity and ecological roles. In 2008, there were 61 plains bison conservation herds in North America containing about 20,500 animals, and 11 conservation herds of wood bison, containing nearly 11,000 animals.

“While substantial progress in saving bison from extinction was made in the 20th Century, much work remains to restore conservation herds throughout their vast geographical range,” says University of Calgary Environmental Design Professor and co-editor of the study, Dr. Cormack Gates, who is also co-Chair of the IUCN/SSC Bison Specialist Group. “The key is recognition that the bison is a wildlife species and to be conserved as wildlife, it needs land and supportive government policies.” 

The survival of bison populations is affected by many factors, including limited habitat and severe winters. Yet the greatest challenge is to overcome the common perception that the bison, which has had a profound influence on the human history of North America, socially, culturally and ecologically, no longer belongs on the landscape.

“The decimation of the American Bison in the late 1800s inspired the first recovery of bison and an entire conservation movement that protected wildlife and wild places across North America,” says Keith Aune, Senior Conservation Scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society. The IUCN Status Survey and Conservation Guidelines provide a new framework for inspiring a second recovery of bison and restoring functional grassland ecosystems.”

Bison have the best chance of full recovery as wildlife by being allowed to roam freely across hundreds of thousands or even millions of hectares. Making this possible poses one of the biggest challenges for restoring bison herds as both public and private landowners will need to give their support.

“The bison is the largest land mammal in North America, and yet it is perhaps the most neglected icon,” says Steve Forrest, WWF Northern Great Plains Manager for Conservation Science.

“These guidelines provide a roadmap for bringing the bison back to its rightful place as a keystone of the great plains." 

 

Editor’s notes:

American Bison: Status Survey and Conservation Guidelines 2010  was edited by Cormack Gates, Curtis Freese, Peter Gogan and Mandy Kotzman, and is the product of more than three years of cooperative effort by numerous contributors.

The production of the report was made possible with funding from several non-governmental organizations and government agencies including the World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design, the American Bison Society, the US Geological Survey and the US National Parks Service.

PDF version of the report and photos available at: www.iucn.org/?4750



Media team:

Nicki Chadwick, Media Relations Officer, IUCN, t. +41 22 999 0229, m +41 76 771 4208, e nicki.chadwick@iucn.org

Vanessa Ferreira, Media Relations, the University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design, t. +1 403-210-6854, e ferreirv@ucalgary.ca 

Mara Johnson, Media Relations, World Wildlife Fund, t. +1 406 585 3022, e mara.johnson@wwfus.org

Stephen Sautner, Director of Communications, Wildlife Conservation Society, t. +1 718 220 3682, e ssautner@wcs.org

 


About IUCN
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. www.iucn.org


About University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design
www.ucalgary.ca/evds

About World Wildlife Fund
www.worldwildlife.org

About Wildlife Conservation Society
www.wcs.org

About The American Bison Society
www.americanbisonsocietyonline.org

About US Geological Survey
www.usgs.gov

About US National Parks Service
www.nationalparks.org

 

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New York, N.Y. – Get in the spirit of giving at the Central Park, Prospect Park, and Queens Zoos, as animals receive holiday presents in a wild way. Visit the zoos this December to watch animals such as polar bears, baboons, and pumas tear into their very own Christmas presents on the weekends of December 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20 (also December 26-27 at the Prospect Park Zoo). Each zoo will put visitors into the spirit of the season while giving beautifully wrapped presents of delectable delicacies...
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WCS’s Bronx Zoo Has Welcomed More Than 236 Million Visitors Since Its Gates Opened November 8, 1899 WCS’s Bronx Zoo is a Cornerstone New York City Cultural Institution and Headquarters for Global Conservation Efforts WCS’s Bronx Zoo Continues Award-Winning Tradition of Forward Thinking Exhibit Design Bronx, N.Y. – November 8, 2009 – Today, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo celebrates the 110th anniversary of its opening.  Since November 8, 1899, more than 236 million ...
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The Center for Global Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo headquarters will serve as a command center for WCS’s work to save wildlife and wild places around the world.

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New WCS CGC building becomes command center for international conservation Facility utilizes state-of-the-art “green” technologies NEW YORK (October 5, 2009)—The Wildlife Conservation Society today opened the WCS Center for Global Conservation on its C.V. Starr Science Campus at the Bronx Zoo.The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Center for Global Conservation, designed by FXFOWLE Architects, is a state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot “green” facility that will serve...
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Flushing, N.Y. –The Queens Zoo is happy to announce the arrival of three adorable pronghorn antelope fawns, born recently at the zoo. The pronghorn is unique in that it is the lone member of the family, Antilocapridae. They are true American natives that do not occur anywhere else in the world.The new fawns are still very young but adjusting quite nicely to their new home at the completely outdoor zoo. A species known for taking long trips in the wild, the new pronghorns spend much of their time...
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Once numbering in the tens of millions, guanacos have dramatically declined  NEW YORK (June 10, 2008) –  The Wildlife Conservation Society has launched a study in Chile’s Karukinka reserve on Tierra del Fuego to help protect the guanaco –  a wild cousin of the llama that once roamed in vast herds from the Andean Plateau to the steppes of Patagonia.Today, the guanaco population has dwindled to perhaps half a million animals that live in highly fragmented populations due to habitat ...
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