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Wood bison listed as threatened species in Northwest Territories

Wood bison are a threatened species in the Northwest Territories according to an assessment conducted by the territory’s species at risk committee.

The NWT Species at Risk Act provides a process by which to identify, protect and recover species at risk in the territory.

Wildlife officials estimate there are as few as 2,500 wood bison remaining in the territory and remaining herds are facing a number of threats – including disease, increased predation and human-caused death.

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It’s believed that the NWT is home to 32 per cent of the world’s wood bison population. As the largest land mammal in North America, they are important grazers and a key component of the boreal forest ecosystem.

According to the NWT Species at Risk database, boreal caribou, peary caribou, northern leopard frogs and western toads are also identified as threatened in the territory.

Dolphin and union caribou and polar bears are listed as species of special concern.

Earlier this year, the territorial government released a recovery strategy for the hairy braya, a rare northern plant that was listed as threatened in 2014.

A number of other species will be assessed in the years to come.

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