European Rewilding Network

European bison in the Rothaargebirge, Germany

In the “Rothaargebirge” in North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany a herd of 8 European bison were released into the wild. A serious attempt to reintroduce a population of free ranging bison in Western Europe. Historically the European bison was distributed almost throughout all Europe.

Project: European bison in the Rothaargebirge, Germany
Region: Rothaargebirge
Habitat types: Mainly coniferous forests and deciduous forest
Fauna (mega) species present: red deer, wild boar, mouflon, roe deer
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild
Aim and vision: Goal is to establish a free-ranging herd of 20-25 European bison in the Rothaargebirge and to ensure the survival of this species on the long term.
To provide an example for further reintroduction projects elsewhere, where humans are omnipresent in the landscape.
Other activities: Eco tourism, Research
Inspirational value: This is the first attempt to reintroduce a large herbivore in a commercial forest and to establish a free ranging bison herd in West Europe. This would not be possible if not different parties would work together. A variety of different stakeholders are cooperating and involved in this project, e.g. private landowner, the city of Bad Berleburg, an animal and nature protection trust -Europäische Tier und Naturschutz Stiftung, the district Kreis-Siegen Wittgenstein, the rural district NRW and the federal state in terms of the Federal Agency of Nature Conservation (BfN), as well as nature conservation organizations and different Universities. This construction is unique for a nature conservation project in this form and can work as example for projects with a similar goal and situation.
Experience you would like to share: wildlife management; animal interactions with the environment; human - bison encounters; public awareness and social context of reintroducing a wild animal
Experience you would like to gain: wildlife management; animal interactions with the environment; human - bison encounters; public awareness and social context of reintroducing a wild animal
Map
Country
Germany
Start year
2004
Size (ha)
6000
Area type
Mountainous
Flagship species
Bison

In the “Rothaargebirge” in North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany a herd of 8 European bison were released into the wild. A serious attempt to reintroduce a population of free ranging bison in Western Europe. Historically the European bison was distributed almost throughout all Europe.

Map
Country
Germany
Start year
2004
Size (ha)
6000
Area type
Mountainous
Flagship species
Bison
Specification
Project: European bison in the Rothaargebirge, Germany
Region: Rothaargebirge
Habitat types: Mainly coniferous forests and deciduous forest
Fauna (mega) species present: red deer, wild boar, mouflon, roe deer
Description
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild
Aim and vision: Goal is to establish a free-ranging herd of 20-25 European bison in the Rothaargebirge and to ensure the survival of this species on the long term.
To provide an example for further reintroduction projects elsewhere, where humans are omnipresent in the landscape.
Other activities: Eco tourism, Research
Achievements
Exchange
Inspirational value: This is the first attempt to reintroduce a large herbivore in a commercial forest and to establish a free ranging bison herd in West Europe. This would not be possible if not different parties would work together. A variety of different stakeholders are cooperating and involved in this project, e.g. private landowner, the city of Bad Berleburg, an animal and nature protection trust -Europäische Tier und Naturschutz Stiftung, the district Kreis-Siegen Wittgenstein, the rural district NRW and the federal state in terms of the Federal Agency of Nature Conservation (BfN), as well as nature conservation organizations and different Universities. This construction is unique for a nature conservation project in this form and can work as example for projects with a similar goal and situation.
Experience you would like to share: wildlife management; animal interactions with the environment; human - bison encounters; public awareness and social context of reintroducing a wild animal
Experience you would like to gain: wildlife management; animal interactions with the environment; human - bison encounters; public awareness and social context of reintroducing a wild animal
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