A wood bison near Behchoko, in the Northwest Territories, Canada
© Don Johnston/agefotostoc
The largest American bison around
Emerging from a stand of trees in the Northwest Territories comes a wood bison, the larger of the two subspecies of the American bison. (The plains bison is the other type). The wood bison once numbered in the tens of thousands, roaming the chilly boreal forests and open meadows in northwestern Canada and parts of Alaska. But by the early 1900s, these majestic animals, as with their cousins to the south, were driven almost to extinction by hunting, disease, and habitat loss.
Thanks to conservation efforts, today their numbers have rebounded enough to move the wood bison's status from endangered to threatened. And one of the best places to see them in the wild? The Northwest Territories, an area that has become an important refuge for the largest land mammal in North America.