YAKUTSK, July 24. /TASS/. Wood bison, which have been brought to Yakutia since 2006, will be listed in the republic's Red Data Book to preserve the species and to protect them from poachers. The local government took the decision at a meeting on Tuesday.
"The purpose of including wood bison in Yakutia’s Red Data Book is to help conserve the species and expand their number," the republic’s ecology minister, Sakhamin Afanasyev, told the meeting participants. "As the first batch of wood bison has been released into the wild, we face the task to protect free-living animals from poaching. While the animals are safe within the Sinyaya (Blue) Nature Park, outside it bison are at risk. Therefore, they should be put on the regional list of rare and endangered species."
The first wood bison arrived in Yakutia from Canada in 2006, the official continued.
"Presently, 212 bison live in Yakutia, whereas 122 have been born here," he said. "Revival of the wood bison will add to Yakutia’s biodiversity and will expand the natural resource base for the local population." If wood bison breeding in Yakutia proves successful, this might pave the way for their breeding in Russia’s north-eastern regions, he added.
The minister did not rule out that in future bison could be used in agriculture, including in areas unsuitable for animal husbandry. However, that may be possible if the bison population grows to 2-3 thousand species.
Yakutia’s authorities claim protection of wild animals should be a part of the national project Ecology.
Russia’s national project Ecology is planned for 2019-2024. The government will invest more than 4 trillion rubles ($63 billion) in it.