Wood bison are classified as Threatened under the Species At Risk Act, with the Hay-Zama herd being listed as Endangered under Alberta’s Wildlife Act. “Free-roaming wood bison found in northwestern Alberta’s Bison Protection Area are considered to be wildlife, and receive protection under the Wildlife Act. It is illegal to hunt, harm, or traffic in the bison within this area without a licence”.(Government of Alberta 2018)
The Hay-Zama wilderness is situated within the Alberta’s Bison Protection Area, which was designated in 1995, and spans an area of 40,000km2. This protected area includes AWA’s Hay-Zama, Cameron Hills, and Bistcho Areas of Concern in addition to the northern portion of AWA’s Chinchaga Area of Concern; it extends from the far northwest corner of the province down south until the Chinchaga River. The Government of Alberta carefully monitors and controls the free-roaming bison herds found in and around Wood Buffalo National Park as to protect the Hay-Zama herd from contracting tuberculosis.