European Rewilding Network

European bison in a Dutch dune system

The pilot project is about bringing back European bison to a Western European area where it lives under natural circumstances e.g. no additional food is given, together with Konik horses, Highland cattle, fallow deer, roe deer and rabbits. The project is carried out in a coastal dune area in which forest patches intertwine with open grasslands and shrubberies.

Project: European bison in a Dutch dune system
Region: Kraansvlak
Type of protection: National Park
Habitat types: (half)open grasslands, shrubberies, deciduous as well as coniferous forest
Fauna (mega) species present: fallow deer, roe deer, fox, rabbit
Aim and vision: Gain knowledge and experiences with European bison when present under natural conditions and living with other large grazers, to contribute to the conservation of this endangered species. Study the public perception towards bison and improve public awareness.
By studying European bison in Kraansvlak, we are gaining valuable information about the species. After the first successful years (2007-2012), we entered the next five-year phase.
Uniqueness of the project: European bison in a natural system which is different to supposed preferred habitat of old growth forests, and without receiving additional feeding. A footpath for public is present in the bison area.
Other activities: Education, Recreational activities, Research
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Free living herds in other nature areas in the Netherlands. Other bison projects in the Netherlands as well as abroad being aware of the knowledge gained by main project partners PWN and ARK Nature.
Results so far: Gained a lot of practical and scientific knowledge on ecological aspects such as diet composition and habitat utilization, also compared to cattle and horses. Much press attention which is valuable to inform public about the species. Enlargement of the bison area, natural growth of the herd. Translocation of bison to other (starting) bison projects in Spain and Holland, contributing to the conservation of the species.
Inspirational value: Partners involved in the start up phase of this project were not afraid to think outside the box, and moved forward with positivism and enthusiasm to turn ideas into reality. All steps undertaken to prepare for the release of bison into the Dutch project area Kraansvlak, make it that the project is very successful and is an inspiration to other people. In 2016, two other Dutch sites followed after gaining experiences at Kraansvlak.
Experience you would like to share: Bringing back European bison; natural grazing with bison, horses and cattle (year round, no feeding); research on bison ecology; partly public access; translocation of bison
Experience you would like to gain: Natural grazing of bison in combination with cattle (started in 2016)
Map
Country
Netherlands
Start year
2007
Size (ha)
330
Area type
Other
Natural process
Natural grazing, Other
Flagship species
Bison

The pilot project is about bringing back European bison to a Western European area where it lives under natural circumstances e.g. no additional food is given, together with Konik horses, Highland cattle, fallow deer, roe deer and rabbits. The project is carried out in a coastal dune area in which forest patches intertwine with open grasslands and shrubberies.

Map
Country
Netherlands
Start year
2007
Size (ha)
330
Area type
Other
Natural process
Natural grazing, Other
Flagship species
Bison
Specification
Project: European bison in a Dutch dune system
Region: Kraansvlak
Type of protection: National Park
Habitat types: (half)open grasslands, shrubberies, deciduous as well as coniferous forest
Fauna (mega) species present: fallow deer, roe deer, fox, rabbit
Description
Aim and vision: Gain knowledge and experiences with European bison when present under natural conditions and living with other large grazers, to contribute to the conservation of this endangered species. Study the public perception towards bison and improve public awareness.
By studying European bison in Kraansvlak, we are gaining valuable information about the species. After the first successful years (2007-2012), we entered the next five-year phase.
Uniqueness of the project: European bison in a natural system which is different to supposed preferred habitat of old growth forests, and without receiving additional feeding. A footpath for public is present in the bison area.
Other activities: Education, Recreational activities, Research
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Free living herds in other nature areas in the Netherlands. Other bison projects in the Netherlands as well as abroad being aware of the knowledge gained by main project partners PWN and ARK Nature.
Results so far: Gained a lot of practical and scientific knowledge on ecological aspects such as diet composition and habitat utilization, also compared to cattle and horses. Much press attention which is valuable to inform public about the species. Enlargement of the bison area, natural growth of the herd. Translocation of bison to other (starting) bison projects in Spain and Holland, contributing to the conservation of the species.
Exchange
Inspirational value: Partners involved in the start up phase of this project were not afraid to think outside the box, and moved forward with positivism and enthusiasm to turn ideas into reality. All steps undertaken to prepare for the release of bison into the Dutch project area Kraansvlak, make it that the project is very successful and is an inspiration to other people. In 2016, two other Dutch sites followed after gaining experiences at Kraansvlak.
Experience you would like to share: Bringing back European bison; natural grazing with bison, horses and cattle (year round, no feeding); research on bison ecology; partly public access; translocation of bison
Experience you would like to gain: Natural grazing of bison in combination with cattle (started in 2016)
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