Do you remember the little prince and his “Draw me a sheep!”? In the Southern Carpathians there is now a new version: “Draw me a bison!”. 40 enthusiastic local kids drew pictures of European bison during their Junior Rangers Camp in Poiana Marului from 3 to 7 July.
The Junior Rangers in the Tarcu Mountains, aged 12 to 15, had a drawing contest with the bison that were recently reintroduced in the area as the main theme. The Junior Rangers is an initiative initiated in 2012 with knowledge about the natural heritage and nature protection at its core. They run various contests and contest winners from schools in the villages around the Tarcu Mountains Natura 2000 site (Armenis, Tegregova, Rusca Teregova, Slatina Timis, Zavoi, Maru, Turnu Ruieni, Borlova etc.), go to a summer camp together.
This year, the Junior Rangers made drawings with a huge enthusiasm and 100% natural ingredients: paints, leaves, charcoal, etc. Our local rewilding colleague Adrian Grancea did a presentation about the European bison and the joint efforts of Rewilding Europe and WWF-Romania to bring back this animal to the Tarcu Mountains, where it has been living for millennia until it was pushed to extinction 200 year ago. The kids were extremely curious about the bison, inundating Adrian with questions: what is difference between the European and the American bison, what other animals could you plan to bring, how we can tell bison individuals apart from the other, why is that bison have a social herd structure, why do the adult males that are not dominant leave the herd… All kind of questions you could think of!
The Junior Rangers camp didn’t announce winners from the bison drawing day. Everybody was a winner! And the award will be to visit the bison site and the see the already almost free roaming bison! For some of the kids it wouldn’t be the first bison experience in life. Several children in the summer camp are originally from Armenis, the village near to the bison release site, and they have already seen the animals.
The participants of the Tarcu Bison Marathon 2014 weren’t as lucky, when they in June biked along the bison enclosure in the Plopu area. It was, however, an excellent idea by the organisers to add some bison flavour to the traditional mountain biking tournament. Many locals in Armenis did very successfully the same, when the bikers passed through their village, selling several local food products – honey, juice, jam and others – decorated with a bison label.
Bison sells best!