A new group of bison arrives safely in the Southern Carpathians
The new bison group includes 7 females and 2 males, between the ages of 2 to 6 years. The species were carefully selected based on genetics, age and gender, so that they have high chances of adaptation and to mate in the new natural environment. The bison will go through an adaptation period of about two months, in two successively larger enclosures, until a full reintroduction in the wild is completed to join the bison that have been roaming free for one year now in the Țarcu Mountains.
”The transportation of the 9 bison from Avesta, Sweden, and their relocation in the Țarcu Mountains took place in very good conditions, and this success comes down to multiple factors. Firstly, all of the bison are from the same herd with an optimum structure of age and genetic provenance, which reduces their stress to integrate in the natural environment. It is very important to mention the professionalism of our partners from Avesta, who have prepared the tranquilisation and loading of the bison in an impeccable manner, and the local community in Armenis, who have once again offered their entire support to create favourable conditions in the build-up to the bison arrival”, said Adrian Hagatiș, LIFE-Bison Project Manager at WWF-Romania.
Southern Carpathians – one of the two areas in Romania hosting wild bison
Rewilding Europe and WWF-Romania initiated the reintroduction programme in the Țarcu Mountains in 2012, with the first bison transport in May 2014. Every year since then new translocations have been organised with bison coming from breeding centers, nature reserves and zoos from around Europe. The growing herd in the Țarcu Mountains in the southern bend of the Carpathians follows on a first herd of wild bison in Vanatori Neamt Nature Park, where the park’s administration started reintroduction in 2012. At the moment, more than 50 individual bison are roaming in the wild in Romania in the two reintroduction sites in the Țarcu Mountains/Southern Carpathians and Vanatori Neamț.
The main objective for the Southern Carpathians group is to grow it into a demographically and genetically viable population, with two sub-populations including the one already established in Țarcu and another soon to be established in the nearby Poiana Rusca Mountains. To achieve this, Rewilding Europe and WWF-Romania have committed to reintroducing at least 100 individuals by 2020.
Nature as an engine for sustainable development in the region
The bison initiative is not only about reintroducing the species, though everything is related and is contributing directly or indirectly to this core conservation objective. The bison are the central “piece” in a complex vision for making nature an engine for the development of this region and a source of wellbeing for the local communities. This is being made possible through ongoing and planned developed of ecotourism, community development, education, nature research, technological innovation and conservation efforts to the benefit of both nature and man.
Nature research and monitoring are key priorities in the initiative in order to measure the impact of the bison on the natural area and its biodiversity, to better inform the conservation actions, better understand and mitigate challenges such as human-wildlife conflicts. The bison conservation work is complemented by a multi-disciplinary research project coordinated from a field research station located in the village of Fenes, in the former cultural centre, where students, researchers, conservation practitioners are now coming to take up temporary research missions.
To support the local development, the initiative encouraged the creation of a local association called AMZA (Bison Hillock Association Armeniș) which is the local partner in organising bison transports and releases, building relations with the local authorities, developing and providing ecotourism services (e.g. accommodation and meals, specialty guiding services) and local products. In 2016, a new local brand of traditional products was created together with AMZA, in order to share local food and crafts heritage with the wider public and thus to revitalise the local economy and pride in the power of hands. The project has also created four jobs so far: two young locals have become bison rangers in the Bison Hillock (Țarcu Mountains) and another two have started work in the second area which will be hosting bison, Poiana Rusca Mountains. Their role is key, as they patrol the rewilding area and monitor the movement of bison and other wildlife species, in releasing bison and guiding visitors through the area.
For more information about the project, visit: www.life-bison.com.
To see the bison in the wild, book a tour at: www.wwf.ro/visitbison.