It’s a baby wood bison! The wood bison calf — part of a herd reintroduced into the wild in Alaska — was born last week, the first new critter of its type to draw breath in the wild in more than 100 years.
Wood bison, the largest mammal in North America, had become almost extinct. Athabascan natives had used the wood bison for clothing, food and shelter. But by the early 1800s, the mammals had all but disappeared from Alaska.
A herd had been in captivity at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center south of Anchorage for a dozen years and had continued to multiply. About 100 were released into the wild near Shageluk, about 300 miles from Anchorage, earlier this month.
About 30 of the female wood bison that were released were pregnant, so more births are expected this spring.
You can see the giant beasts without traveling to Shageluk. Efforts to grow the herd continue at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Anchorage.
Winter hours at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Beginning May 9, hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $12.50 for adults and $9 for children 4-12.
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