Thunderous roar of the Buffalo to return to Banff National Park

Chris Stewart
APTN National News
The buffalo haven’t been seen on the land in Banff National Park for 148 years.

That’s soon going to change.

The Samson Cree Nation symbolically gifted buffalo to the Stoney Nakoda who will help establish the buffalo in Banff.

The buffalo were hunted to near extinction in the mid-1800s.

Ceremonies were held to honour their return later this week.

“We’ve come together, with the other tribes,” said Maskwacis band member John Crier. “The people from the south and the people from central and northern Alberta come together. Sharing in the pipe ceremony and singing songs.”

While Parks Canada is preparing to welcome the buffalo, Hank Snow, a councillor at Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Treaty 7, close to Banff, said that it’s a homecoming long in the making.

“The place that they are going, I rode through there a few years ago. It’s really beautiful country. There are buffalo skulls that were found in that area, so you know throughout the whole mountains the buffalo were always there. It is not some place that is going to be foreign to them. That’s their home,” said Snow.

The plan is to have the herd in Banff by the end of the week. Once driven there, they will be flown 20 kilometers inland. There are no fences, and they will have to deal with natural predators like bears, wolverines and wolves.

“We don’t know how fast they will grow,” said Karsten Heuer of Parks Canada. “That will be partly determined by how quickly the wolves realize there’s a new food source and learn how to take advantage of it. In places like the Yukon were they’ve done reintroductions there, where wolves existed, that took 20 years.”

The chief of Samson, Kurt Buffalo, is excited to see the buffalo return.

“It’s historic. You look at the number of people that are here today. They are a part of something great. When that herd is let go in Banff, you are going to hear that thunderous roar and those hoof beats in the mountains,” said Buffalo.

“It’s going to bring so much life back into the park. It’s going to be a historic moment.”

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3 thoughts on “ Thunderous roar of the Buffalo to return to Banff National Park

  1. The animals you are bringing to Banff ate Bison. Buffalo are found in Africa, not North America.

    1. Sep 6, 2012 – Early American settlers called bison “bufello” due to the similar appearance between the two animals, and the name “buffalo” stuck for the American variety. But it’s wrong. The American bison (Bison bison) lives only in North America, while the two main buffalo species reside in Africa and Asia.

  2. Just to add, the bison will be reintroduce in the backcountry in the Panther Valley in the north eastern slope of Banff National Park. So looking forward to know they will be back home.

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