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Bison (Buffalo)

Bison (Buffalo)

Large. It’s a word often used to describe these animals and the national park in which they’re found.

The bison in the Fort Smith area are part of the largest free-roaming, self-regulating herd of wood bison in the world. The herd population is currently estimated at over 5,000. These bison are protected in Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest national park in Canada and one of the largest in the world. The park was established in 1922 to protect the wood bison, which are the largest land animals in North America. Adult males can weigh in at over 900 kg (2,000 lbs.).

Historically, wood bison met many needs of the Aboriginal people in the Fort Smith area. Skins were used for tents and clothing, meat for sustenance, bones for tools, and other parts had uses for medicines, glues, and much more.
Today, visitors to Fort Smith often see these large animals. Most often, they’re seen grazing and roaming along Highway 5 during the drive to Fort Smith, and along Pine Lake Road en route from Fort Smith.

In the summer, visitors can see the young calves that were born in the spring. In the late summer, the rut between dominant bulls results in some imposing battles that can be seen along the roads in the park.