Posted on 26 September 2019
The ongoing bison reintroduction programme is the largest ever attempted in the Southern Carpathians.
Another successful bison transport took place last week when 4 female bison arrived safely in the vicinity of Armenis, in the Tarcu Mountains of Romania. Here, they will join more than 50 free-roaming bison already in the Southern Carpathians.
19 September 2019 (Bucharest) -
The animals come from two locations; three from the Donaumoos Bison Reservation (Germany) and one from the Bison Breeding Centre in Hunedoara, Romania. The new additions were carefully selected, based on genetics, age, and species management considerations to give them the best possible chance of adapting and reproduction in their new environment.
Xannika, a female bison from the Karlsruhe Zoo, Germany
was also transported to the breeding centre; a 6000 m2
special enclosure created at the Hunedoara Zoo
in 2016 by WWF-Romania
and Rewilding Europe
as part of the Life-Bison Project.
"Xannika is essential in ensuring that new generations have a diverse gene pool. Releasing bison from the breeding centre will reduce the stress resulting from relocating animals from thousands of miles away. Romarta, the female bison born in the breeding centre two years ago and who now joined the group of 3 females from Domaumoos is a positive example of the success of this centre." - Ciprian Hodor, Veterinarian
The females from the Bison Hillock in the Tarcu Mountains will remain under the close supervision of the rangers and the veterinarian for the acclimatisation period. In a few months they will join the free bison.
"They travelled more than 1000 km and arrived in good condition. Now begins the process of acclimatisation in which we will ensure that they are healthy and prepared for the life in the wild. This whole process involves complex work and very strong collaboration. The professionalism of the partners in Germany, of the Hunland Transport Company, the Hunedoara Zoo and especially the support of the local community (that has been with us since the beginning of the project) are extremely valuable." - Marina Druga, Life-Bison Project Manager
A few years ago bison in Europe were rarer than the black rhinoceros in Africa. But now, thanks to our conservation efforts, the populations of European bison (Bison bonaus
) throughout Europe are on the rise. In June, 2019 another 7 bison were brought from Germany to the place now known as Bison Hillock. There are now a total of over 60 bison in both project areas, Armenis and Densus.
Nature research and monitoring are key priorities. We are measuring the impact of bison on this diverse landscape and on biodiversity in order to underpin conservation actions and to better understand and mitigate challenges such as human-wildlife conflicts
Once widespread across Europe, the majestic wild European bison were driven to extinction in the early 20th
century by poaching and habitat loss. The ongoing bison reintroduction programme
launched by Rewilding Europe and WWF-Romania back in 2014 is the largest ever attempted in the Southern Carpathians
. The first two bison releases took place in 2014 and 2015 in the Tarcu Mountains, close to the small town of Armenis. In June 2016, a third bison release took place there as part of the European Commission-funded LIFE Bison Project
, with annual releases now ongoing. In 2018, another 23 bison were released into the wild, including 14 animals at a second rewilding site
in the Poiana Rusca Mountains.
The overall objective
of the LIFE Bison Project, which runs until December 2020, is to establish a wild bison population that is demographically and genetically viable in the Southern Carpathians
. Sub-populations will be connected by ecological corridors to enable migration and genetic exchange.
Nature, the key to community development in the Bison Hillock
Bison are the central piece of a rewilding vision in which nature becomes the key to community development
and a source of well-being for local communities of this region. Continuous efforts are being invested in ecotourism, community development, education, research and technological innovation, for the benefit of nature and people alike.
Rewilding Europe and WWF-Romania collaborate closely with local communities at both bison release sites, together with the involvement of local entrepreneurs, forest managers, hunting associations and tour operators to ensure that the bison reintroduction programme is as successful as possible. The project encouraged the establishment of the AMZA Association
(Mgura Zimbrilor Armeni Association
) by local residents. AMZA has become the local partner in the organisation of bison transports and releases, maintaining good relations with the local authorities, and in the creation and provision of services such as ecotourism (e.g. accommodation, meals and specialised guides) and local products.
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