2012-10-22. Campaign helps European bison roam on the Russian range again |

posted Oct 24, 2012, 9:10 PM by Alan Gould
By Kathy Lally, Washington Post. Article relevant to Losing Biodiversity chapter 2. Excerpt: ARKHYZ, Russia — Four startled bison backed out of their traveling crates here, looked around suspiciously for a moment, then strolled contentedly across the field. Finally, they were home, home on the range where they had been declared nearly extinct. The big and shaggy 2-year-olds, who look much like the American buffalo, had been driven 1,000 miles from a nature reserve in the Moscow region to southwest Russia, where the European bison had roamed for centuries in the woodlands of the North Caucasus mountains.They had been raised by the World Wildlife Fund, known as WWF in Russia, and brought here on a rainy day in October in yet another attempt by man to undo damage he has done to the world around him. The European bison disappeared here in 1927, was brought back in the 1970s, then killed off again in the 1990s when the people of this region, called the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, were thrown into poverty after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This bison meat is no gift to the palate. But people were hungry. Only 13 bison remained here in the Teberdinsky Nature Reserve, said Igor Chestin, director of WWF Russia. At that number, the bison will not breed, he said. But the four just released, and another four brought here in September, are expected to provide enough choice of mates to get some serious courting underway. Full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/wwf-brings-russian-bison-back/2012/10/21/43c40a2e-149a-11e2-ba83-a7a396e6b2a7_story.html