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For First time in 140 years, Bison calves born in Canadian National Park Area

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FILE - A wild bison, selected from Elk Island National Park’s healthy conservation herd to be moved to the remote wilderness of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, is pictured in this Jan. 31, 2017, handout photo. VOA

Bison calves have been born in the area that makes up Alberta’s Banff National Park for the first time in 140 years, Parks Canada officials said Tuesday, marking a milestone in attempts to reintroduce a wild herd to the area.

Conservation officers said three calves had been born since Saturday in the remote Panther Valley on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and that seven more were expected.

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Western Alberta is dealing with unseasonably cold spring weather, but Bill Hunt, resource conservation manager for Banff National Park, said the calves were well-equipped to deal with harsh conditions.

“Last night, we had 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 centimeters) of snow, but fortunately bison are very well-adapted, so these little calves drop out, get their legs straightaway, start nursing and do fine,” Hunt said.

Parks Canada released a 16-strong herd of plains bison, including 10 pregnant females, in the country’s oldest national park in February.

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They are keeping them under observation until summer 2018, when the animals will be released into the full 460-square-mile (1,189-square-kilometer) reintroduction zone after the females calve again next spring.

Bison herds of up to 30 million animals once migrated freely across North America. The shaggy, hump-shouldered animals, also widely known as buffalo, were nearly hunted to extinction in the late 19th century. Rangers estimate that bison have not grazed in Banff National Park since before it was established in 1885. (VOA)

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Counting for Snow Leopards to begin, Plan to Double Numbers

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that a protocol has been decided among the member countries to be the roadmap for enumeration of snow leopards

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Snow Leopards
The plan is to double the population of Snow Leopards in the world. Pixabay

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that a protocol has been decided among the member countries to be the roadmap for enumeration of snow leopards.

He added that once the enumeration is completed, the plan is to double the population of snow leopards in the world.

Addressing the inaugural session of the fourth steering committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) programme on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day, Javadekar said the maximum population of snow leopards is in Mongolia and China.

Giving the example of India’s success in counting tigers, he said the exercise was difficult till 20 years back but now India has done it and the population has touched 2,967 tigers, which is 77 per cent of the world tiger population. India has a rich ecology with 500 lions, 30000 elephants and 2500 single horn rhinos.

On snow leopards, he said that there is confidence that once the protocol has been finalised, it will help all the countries in the count which can then strive to double the population of snow leopards in the coming decade.

India will have a separate programme on snow leopards to include green pathways in the Himalayan region where they are found to also assist in livelihood creation and create an ecosystem, the Minister said.

He added that discussion, deliberations and cooperation will help the countries to move ahead on nature conservation. The countries then need to think about capacity building in nature issues and conservation of snow leopards, he said.

Snow Leopards
Javadekar said the maximum population of Snow Leopards is in Mongolia and China. Pixabay

He said he is confident of winning this important battle against climate change by conserving nature and the animal kingdom including leopards, tigers and there is a commitment to give a better planet to the next generation.

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Reiterating India’s commitment to cooperate with all countries to conserve nature, Javadekar said it is a responsibility to protect and conserve nature as a lot of injustice has been done by cutting trees and disturbing the natural ecology. (IANS)