Wood bison

Bison Control Area

About the Bison Control Area

Bison in the greater Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) meta-population, including all subpopulations within WBNP and the Slave River Lowlands may be infected with bovine tuberculosis or brucellosis, or both.

The Bison Control Area (BCA) program was created in 1987 to reduce the risk of tuberculosis or brucellosis would spread to uninfected bison in the Mackenzie, Nahanni and Hay-Zama (Alberta) populations. The BCA is managed as a bison-free zone designed to prevent bison from moving out of the Slave River Lowlands or WBNP area from coming into contact with uninfected populations.

All reports of bison or signs of them in the BCA are investigated and any bison found in the area are removed and tested for disease.

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) conducts aerial surveillance of the BCA during the winter months when bison are most likely to cross the Mackenzie River, and conducts annual public campaigns to increase awareness of the program, and the importance of reporting any sightings.

Since 1993, the BCA has been jointly funded by the Parks Canada Agency and the GNWT. 

Report a sighting

Anyone who sees a bison within the BCA is asked to report the sighting to to 1-866-629-6438 as soon as possible, because bison are capable of travelling long distances in a short period of time. The success of this program depends greatly on public cooperation and support.


Any residents of the Northwest Territories may hunt bison within the BCA at any time. A hunter who kills a bison in the area is required to report the occurrence as soon as possible to 1-866-629-6438.

Map of the Bison Control Area