2014-05-21. Return of the European Bison.

posted May 22, 2014, 8:54 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 2.  Excerpt: ...the first European bison about to set their hooves in this remote Romanian valley in the southern Carpathian mountains for two centuries, wait in the shadows of a huge trailer. The forest, already home to bears and packs of wolves, is the final destination for 17 of Europe's largest land mammal, some of whom have been travelling hitched to lorries for five days from as far as Sweden. It will be their first time out of captivity. The release of the animals into the wild is one of the biggest in Europe since reintroductions began in the 1950s, establishing wild populations in Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, and Kryygzstan. More will be reintroduced each year, with an aim of having 500 in the mountains eventually. Bison bonasus was driven to extinction in the wild across Europe in 1927 after decades of decline from hunting and habitat loss. But it has become that rare endangered species: a conservation success story. There are now thousands in the wild, all descended from the 54 individuals in captivity when the last wild one was killed in Poland's Bialowieza forest. ...There are over 5,000 European bison, with about 3,200 in the wild.... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/21/-sp-european-bison-europe-romania-carpathian-mountains - By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian.