Wood Bison Added to NWT Species at Risk List

YELLOWKNIFE (July 14, 2017) – Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Minister Robert C. McLeod has added wood bison to the NWT List of Species at Risk as a Threatened species, in accordance with direction received from the NWT Conference of Management Authorities (CMA) and the Species at Risk (NWT) Act.

The term of the listing is 10 years. Adding a species to the NWT List of Species at Risk does not result in any automatic prohibitions or protections for the species or their habitat. Listing a species as Threatened triggers a requirement to build a recovery strategy for the species within two years.

The completion of recovery strategies and management plans for species at risk supports the 18th Legislative Assembly’s priorities of environmental stewardship, encouraging coordination and effectiveness in resource management systems, and recognizing traditional knowledge and land claims agreements.



“Wood bison face a number of serious threats in the Northwest Territories, including infectious diseases, predation, human-caused mortality and habitat loss. Listing wood bison as a Threatened species means recovery strategy must be completed to ensure the healthy animals remain the Northwest Territories.

-Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources


Quick facts

Conference of Management Authorities (CMA)

  • Consists of the wildlife co-management boards and governments that share management responsibility for the conservation and recovery of species at risk in the NWT.
  • Makes decisions on listing, conservation, management, and recovery of species that may be at risk of disappearing from the NWT.
  • In the case of wood bison, Management authority for wood bison is shared by the Government of Northwest Territories, the Tłįchǫ Government and the Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board.

Wood bison

  • Wood bison, northern cousins of the plains bison, are North America’s largest land mammals.
  • Large mature bulls can be 1.8 metres at the shoulder and weigh more than 1,000 kilograms.
  • Herds in the NWT include the Mackenzie, Nahanni, Slave River Lowlands populations.
  • Population size in the NWT is quite small (~2,500 animals total) and there is clear evidence of population decline.
  • NWT animals are especially vulnerable to threats, such as naturally occurring anthrax and introduced bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis.

Additional species information and supporting documentation is available at: www.nwtspeciesatrisk.ca/CMA/SarList


For more information contact:

Dawn Curtis

Manager, Public Affairs and Communication

Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories

Phone: (867) 767-9231 ext. 53045

Email: dawn_curtis@gov.nt.ca