Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Proposed rule may return wild Alaska wood bison

A proposed rule allowed under federal law governing endangered species could open the door for the return to Alaska of wood bison, North America's largest land mammal and a species now found only in Canada. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday confirmed that wood bison reintroduced in Alaska would be considered an experimental population not essential to the continued existence of the species under the proposed rule. The rule would allow wood bison to be managed by state wildlife officials and be exempt from certain restrictions in the Endangered Species Act., allaying state fears that development projects could be stymied if wood bison are released into the wild.Under the proposed rule, Alaska could use hunting as a tool to manage the population. The rule would also limit endangered species requirements that could impede development: a requirement for the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for wood bison, and the requirement for companies to consult with federal agencies if their proposed developments affected a threatened species...more

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