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European Bison or Wisent (Bison bonasus)

Canada Wolverine Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-29-2018, 02:38 AM by Ngala )

Population of wisents in Europe already surpassed 4000. Their strongholds are Poland and Belarus. Wisent is the largest wild animal in the continent with weight up to 1,2 tons.












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Canada Wolverine Offline
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Confrontation between European bisons and wolf pack. Chernobille zone, Ukraine.




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Nepal Jimmy Offline
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So awesome and archaic beast, had read somewhere that they were natural hybrids between steppe bison and aurochs.  Thanks for sharing this quality documentary.
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( This post was last modified: 03-09-2018, 08:26 AM by Wolverine )

These beasts were contemporary to mammoths and whooly rhinos. Once almost extinct now they make remarkable return in many parts of Europe. With wisents European nature again revive its monumental ancient features.

Notice: brown bear, wolf, European bison, wild boar. Its almost mega-fauna.... Human population of the Eastern part of the continent is decreasing and wild animals are returning.
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Switzerland Spalea Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-27-2018, 11:04 AM by Rishi )

@Wolverine :

About #4: I would really believe to the full restoration of the European fauna only when the natural predators and only them (lynx, bears, Wolves and so on...) will regulate the herbivores populations. If they were always regulated by the human specy, it would be only a step forward, but incomplete.

In French, as concerns the natural reintroduction of the wolves, you are still hearing the hunters claming to be both the best ecologists and predators of the wild fauna. No use to say it's an absurdity. Positions and views are blocked.

The quality of the movies you share about the wisents is very good. Thank you !
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Canada Wolverine Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-10-2018, 01:35 PM by Wolverine )

Help these hairy beasts to roam free...








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( This post was last modified: 09-07-2018, 10:29 PM by Wolverine )

Poland, by Rafal Kowalscyk


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author


Winter, by Anton Agarkov


*This image is copyright of its original author
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Canada Wolverine Offline
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Wisents torturing a female deer:




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SOUTHERN CARPATHIANS REWILDING TEAM KEEPS HUMAN-BISON RELATIONS HARMONIOUS

Until they become acclimatised to fully wild conditions, bison reintroduced into the Southern Carpathians of Romania may be tempted to approach farms and villages looking for food, especially during periods of harsh weather. The local rewilding team monitors the bison – and provides villagers with guidance and information – to ensure both animals and people remain safe at all times.


*This image is copyright of its original author


In winter, and especially in times of heavy snow, bison do not have access to their main food – grass. While fully wild bison are accustomed to foraging in harsh conditions, those born and raised in captivity, and then newly introduced to the wild, are less capable. Until they adapt to their surroundings, they are sometimes attracted to more accessible food sources, such as haystacks.
As part of the Southern Carpathians rewilding team, bison rangers (locals from Armenis and Poieni rewilding areas), together with members of the WWF Romania team, work in the field to monitor the movement and health of reintroduced bison. If necessary, they intervene to keep the animals a safe distance from villages.
Interaction between bison and villagers in the Southern Carpathians rewilding area has happened in the past. A record is kept of these interactions and is used to improve future decision making regarding human-wildlife management.


*This image is copyright of its original author


in the winter of 2017, a female bison reintroduced into the Țarcu Mountains became separated from the large herd in the Bison Hillock area and came down into the village of Feneş. Having been transported from a zoo in 2015, she was very accustomed to the presence of humans and initially found it difficult to adapt to the wild and harsh winter conditions.
“The bison rangers and local WWF team constantly monitored the situation,” explains Bianca Stefanut, a communications officer attached to the Southern Carpathians rewilding team. “Following wildlife management rules, they intervened several times and guided the bison safely back towards the herd. The reaction of local people varied from concern to curiosity to pride.”
All reintroduced bison undergo a period of acclimatisation to local natural and climatic conditions before they are fully released and become free roaming.  However, some animals regain their survival instincts more slowly, depending on the frequency of their interactions with humans, and the feeding habits acquired at their former zoos and reserves.
“In extreme weather conditions, such as those we have seen this winter, rangers will distribute hay, concentrate and mineralised salts in areas usually frequented by the bison,” explains Stefanut. “This means they are less likely to wander into villages. Electric fences have also been installed, but only in very high-risk localities.
“Over time, as the bison herds become wilder and wilder, we wil gradually stop employing such measures,” she continues. “But to foster co-existence at this early stage of the reintroduction programme these measures are critical.”


*This image is copyright of its original author


In terms of interacting with people, bison do not pose an immediate danger, but it must be remembered that they are still wild animals. Attracting them with food or engaging them directly is ill-advised, to avoid familiarity with humans and prevent damage to goods.

https://rewildingeurope.com/news/souther...armonious/
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United States BloodyClaws Offline
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#11

The Remarkable Story of How the Bison Returned to Europe
BY MATTHEW L. MILLER
AUGUST 22, 2017
  Follow Matthew



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European bison sparring in Russia. Photo © Alexandr frolov / Wikimedia Commons
The mention of bison roaming conjures images of specific places: Yellowstone and the Badlands, the Great Plains and prairie preserves. The wide-open spaces of North America, past and present. But Europe? Chances are, your mind does not connect bison and Europe.

But yes, there are bison in Europe. In fact, story of the European bison’s rescue may be even more dramatic and more perilous than the more well-known saga of the North American bison’s near-miss with extinction

The European bison, or wisent, resembles the North American bison, but it’s not as shaggy, has a lankier appearance and has curved horns that bring to mind domestic cows. There is a lot about the species we don’t know. By the time scientists and naturalists began studying it, only 50 or so animals remained in the world. As such, biologists had only an incomplete picture: they were studying the survivors, the most adaptable of the species clinging on in remote refuges.

As such, there’s a lot of missing information on the wisent’s natural history, habits and habitat. But growing interest in the animal in recent years has offered new understandings about the European bison’s past – and could help shape a hopeful future for Europe’s largest remaining land mammal.


European Bison Under Siege
As the famous cave paintings attest, large herds of wild mammals once roamed Europe. But human settlement and agriculture displaced or eliminated many of these species. Humans pushed European bison to the few remaining patches of wilderness on the continent.

*This image is copyright of its original author

By the 20th century, against long odds, two populations still survived. One, in the remote Northern Caucasus Mountains of Russia, contained only a small number of individuals. A more viable population survived in Poland’s Białowieża Forest, a long-time protected reserve. In the mid-16th century, a Polish king instituted the death penalty for poaching a bison; restrictive laws remained in place with succeeding rulers.

This actually didn’t stop poaching, but a relatively large herd of some 600 bison remained. But when there is a single, isolated population of a species, it makes it highly vulnerable to threats. A single calamity can change the fate of the species. This is a recurring theme in conservation science. It nearly spelled doom for the wisent.

In World War I, occupying Germans took the Białowieża Forest. A scientist apparently informed officers that the bison in the forest were exceedingly rare, but it didn’t matter. Soldiers shot them for meat and because they were there to shoot. As they retreated out of the forest at the end of the war, they shot more.


*This image is copyright of its original author
European bison at Bialowieza. Photo © Francesco Carrani / Flickr


Only nine animals remained.


The survivors were gathered and placed in zoos. In 1927, the Caucasus population of European bison disappeared; the remaining global population at that point consisted of a dozen animals.

Rescue and Resurgence
Numbers grew slightly; with so few animals, the need to manage breeding became apparent. Documenting each individual and its lineage began in 1923 and resulted in the European Bison Pedigree Book being published in 1932. It’s been published every year since, and documents every living wisent.  This was the precursor to what is now standard procedure for zoos in breeding and managing endangered species.

*This image is copyright of its original author
 

The Białowieża Forest remained a viable reserve: large and undeveloped, it was one of the few areas of “wilderness” in Europe. European bison returned there relatively quickly. By 1928, a special breeding project was set up in the forest. In 1952, two bison were released into the forest, back in the wild at last.

Today, Białowieża is home to nearly 600 European bison. But overall, the species has recovered slowly. This was in large part because much of the population is found in zoos. With limited space, zoos simply can’t accommodate large herds.

In 2000, about 2,800 European bison survived. That’s fewer than the number of American bison living in Yellowstone National Park (the total population of American bison exceeds 500,000 individuals). The European bison still seemed to face a precarious future, but new interest in this animal charts a hopeful path forward.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Rewilding – the return of large, native wildlife to restored and connected wild spaces – is a controversial idea in North America. In Europe, though, the idea has attracted more enthusiasm and support. Europe, with a large human population and little wilderness, may seem an unlikely bet for rewilding. But many proponents argue that even small nature reserves can be home to large wildlife. Like bison.

Conservationists argue that mammals like European bison play a significant role in shaping ecosystems. Much as American bison have played a role in grassland management on Nature Conservancy preserves in North America, European bison are now shaping forests and open areas in Germany, France, Spain and other countries.

European bison can thus be seen in some places where they’ve been gone for centuries, like the Netherlands’ Kraansvlak reserve. Celebrating ten years since reintroduction, Kraansvlak now draws thousands of tourists to see the animals, and are demonstrating to ecologists how they graze on the grassy habitats next to sand dunes.


*This image is copyright of its original author
Bison bonasus nursery of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Shebalinsky District, Republic of Altai, Russia. Photo © Alexandr frolov / Wikimedia Commons


With room to roam and breed freely, the European bison herd has increased to more than 6,000 animals. More reserves are proposed for reintroductions every year.

The interest in European bison has also led to more research. A recent paper in Nature uses genetic markers to establish the lineage of this species. As Emma Marris writes, researchers found that European bison are actually a hybrid of the steppe bison, the Eurasian ancestor of American bison, and aurochs, the ancestor of domestic cattle. Both species are long extinct, but the European bison survived. Marris notes that researchers gleaned clues about the species’ history by examining cave art. While this too is contested scientific territory, it appears that the wisent was better able to withstand humanity than either of its ancestors.


*This image is copyright of its original author
The shy giant in Bialowieza forest. Photo © Francesco Carrani / Flickr


Today, European bison are associated with old-growth forests, due to their relative abundance at Białowieża. But it’s important to keep in mind that Białowieża’s herd consisted of animals forced into the last remaining wilderness to survive. Many experts believe the bison’s preferred habitat is open grassland next to forest. This, too, is subject to debate, especially as Poland considers logging Białowieża. Some believe this will drive bison away, while others believe it will benefit the animal.

In any case, reintroductions to more open habitats will likely show that bison are not primarily a forest creature.

Rewilding has many critics who see it as hopelessly nostalgic and a waste of money. Many point out that Europe is not going to return to the Pleistocene and that reintroducing bison to a small nature preserve is a hopeless stunt.

*This image is copyright of its original author

But as Yvonne Kemp points out in her lovely essay on the bison of Kraansvlak, perhaps rewilding is not about looking at the past at all, but a new way of people and wildlife living together in Europe. For millennia, Europeans competed with large wildlife. Now, they can find ways to coexist, and to have encounters with large, magnificent beasts as part of their lives.

“The bottom line is: if we can make such a project a success in the tiny, crowded country of the Netherlands, then we should definitely be able to boost bison numbers in more areas where it historically once roamed,” Kemp writes.

I find it inspiring that even in crowded Europe, the big beasts can return. That in nature reserves in France or the Netherlands, a young naturalist may look over a grassy knoll and come face to face with a Pleistocene beast.  It’s not a glimpse into the past, but a vision into a vibrant future.

*This image is copyright of its original author

https://blog.nature.org/science/2017/08/22/remarkable-story-how-bison-returned-europe/
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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(03-09-2018, 08:15 AM)Wolverine Wrote: These beasts were contemporary to mammoths and whooly rhinos. Once almost extinct now they make remarkable return in many parts of Europe. With wisents European nature again revive its monumental ancient features.

Notice: brown bear, wolf, European bison, wild boar. Its almost mega-fauna.... Human population of the Eastern part of the continent is decreasing and wild animals are returning.

You could say the last sentence again: https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-animal-...#pid114628
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