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Friends of Elk Island Society Message Board News › Bison Handling 2011 - 70 Animals to be sent to Montana.

Bison Handling 2011 - 70 Animals to be sent to Montana.

Rick W.
Group Organizer
Sherwood Park, AB
Post #: 43
This year a number of members of the Frinds of Elk Island Society were invited to help with the Bison handling. 70 young animals had been separated from the main herd and needed to be tested for a variety of bovine diseases before being shipped to Montana. Volunteers worked the gates in the Bison handling facility over a two day period. A great time was had by all.

See the Edmonton Journal article here:

Elk Island bison hoofing it down to Montana

Rick W.
Group Organizer
Sherwood Park, AB
Post #: 44
The following day a number of animals were prepared for delivery to the University of Saskatchewan and invited volunteers were once again present. Here's what Liz had to say about Friday's Bison handling.

On Friday December 16th I was privileged to be part of a group of volunteers allowed to assist with the handling of a group of ‘Teenage’/Yearling Plains Bison that were going to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Twenty three of these magnificent beasts were persuaded to enter the handling facility and negotiate a series of gates and chutes, operated by enthusiastic, albeit amateur volunteers, as well as skilled professional Parks Canada staff.

The weather was perfect, cool and crisp, no wind and every sound was crystal clear. Instructions were simple and easy to hear, no fuss, no panic from the handlers or the bison. In fact I found the animals themselves to be eerily quiet, a little heavy breathing and the occasional huff but otherwise nothing. It was as if they were too dignified to acknowledge the intrusion into their lives, the needles or general disruption to their otherwise contented existence.

Following the work on the chutes we had a tour of the lab facility where the animals are gently ‘squeezed’ in special chutes so that they can be closely examined and samples taken from appropriate places, again all is calm and silent! The facility itself is small and nestled in the centre of the handling complex, which if seen from the air resembles the internal structure of a Nautilus shell. The whole complex is a work of art and functions with a natural rhythm that is the Plains Bison and Elk Island National Park.

To round off the day we socialized around the fire-pit or in the well heated tent while hot dogs, chili, soup, homemade cookies and nibbles and copious quantities of hot drinks were supplied. All in all it was a day to remember and I can’t wait for the next one.
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