The story of how the European bison returned to Romania’s forests

In a time where species are disappearing and nature seems to lose more ground, there are places like Romania where nature has been preserved and species are brought back to life. The bison is one example.

There are several reservations for bisons in Romania and researchers are working on growing their numbers. What happened to the bison? This magnificent beast was brought close to extinction because it was hunted over the centuries. The numbers fell so low, only in the US the population fell under 600 ( that is the Nort-American bison) and by the time researchers started studying them their worldwide numbers fell to 60. In the 1920’s a breeding project started in the area of Poland and since then many things have been done to improve their population. In 2000, their population rose to 2,800 and nowadays there are around 6,000 European bisons.

Romania, besides Poland, has been considered a good place for the repopulation of the bison. The Economist notes that while western Europe has destroyed their wild areas due to intensive agriculture, Eastern Europe, particularly Romania has managed to maintain their natural reserves and this was because during the communist era people were reluctant to use the marginal land for agriculture.

Now WWF Romania has been introducing bisons in the wild since 2014 in two areas in the Southern Carpathian mountains. Right now, 30 bisons are free to roam around Tarcu mountains. It took two years of hard work and collaboration with the local authorities and participation of specialists to get things going. What is amazing is that some of these bisons are released into the wild, after spending their life in zoos or animal parks ( one such bison came from Tierpark Zoo Berlin and one from Damerower, two bisons came from Veneto-based Parco Natura Viva). Their target now is to bring 100 bisons into the wild in the Carpathian area.

Bisons at the Vanatori National Park





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