European Rewilding Network
050

European bison in Veluwe

Bison reintroduction project

The project focuses on providing space to roam for the still endangered European bison, allowing them to play their important role in this widely known nature area, while in the same time offering nature based tourism.
Leo Linnartz, ARK Nature
European bison in Veluwe area in The Netherlands.
Leo Linnartz
Bison are now well-known in this area and coexist with other fauna as well as being enclosed in the hearts of people.
Jan Ritzer
Since bison is still an endangered species, giving more space for them to roam is crucial.
Yvonne Verhoev-Witz

The bison reintroduction project in the Veluwe area is an initiative of the foundation ‘Wisent op de Veluwe’, in partnership with the State Forest Service and ARK Nature. The bison is introduced to rewild the Veluwe area as an additional large herbivore species to support natural grazing as a key ecological process. It is also meant to support wildlife-based economic activities such as bison-watching through guided excursions.

The Veluwe area, some 100,000 hectares in size, already holds good numbers of red and roe deer, wild boar, pine marten, badger and has an interesting birdlife, including the largest raven population in the country. A lot of nature bridges were built over the last decades to ensure connectivity between the different parts that are separated by roads and motorways. Bringing the European bison to this area is an important step towards a more diverse vegetation as the species opens up areas by its grazing, browsing, sand bathing and debarking of trees – thereby facilitating other species to benefit or colonize this wider variety of habitats.

Project: European bison in Veluwe
Region: Central Veluwe, The Netherlands
Type of protection: Natura 2000 area
Habitat types: Pine forests, deciduous forest (birch, oak), grasslands, heath vegetation and sandy areas.
Keystone species: Red deer and wild boar.
Fauna (mega) species present: Roe deer, fox and badger.
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Methods and experiences to allow natural numbers and densities of native, wild or rewilded species, Pilot projects focusing on supporting key wildlife species being present in more natural densities, showing their role in the ecosystem, 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, Successful agreements with forestry entities about changing forestry practises into more nature-based management systems, Successful agreements with hunting entities about sustainable hunting and the development of wildlife watching tourism, in order to bring back wildlife in natural numbers
Aim and vision: To enrich the Veluwe area with the endangered European bison and its effects on the landscape, making it more natural. At the same time, provide visitors with possibilities to learn and enjoy nature here.
Bison numbers increase with their impact on the landscape being embraced. After a positive evaluation with all stakeholders the herd is allowed to roam together with other wildlife in a larger part of the Veluwe.
Uniqueness of the project: The bison area connects to the largest sand dune of NW Europe. The relief rich area includes heath and forest stands, and is home to many species including large wildlife. European bison roams here with wild boar and red deer, as only location in the Netherlands.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Recreational activities, Research
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: European bison numbers have increased into herd size with a natural consistency. Bison are now well-known in this area and coexist with other fauna as well as being enclosed in the hearts of people.
Results so far: Successful introduction of the European bison, involvement of many volunteers playing a role in monitoring and guided excursions.
Inspirational value: Introducing such a charismatic species like European bison to one of the Netherlands most well-known natural regions, with potential to increase bison numbers in the future to a substantial level. Since bison is still an endangered species, giving more space for them to roam is crucial. In addition, European bison adds value to the local fauna, for nature as well as for people.
Experience you would like to share: Prepare and introduce European bison to a very new environment, with support of local stakeholders. Successful involvement of volunteers in the project.
Experience you would like to gain: Maintaining a well-balanced, positive relationship with local stakeholders. Gain knowledge on the ecological impact of the presence of European bison, living with other fauna species.
Map
Country
Netherlands
Start year
2016
Size (ha)
400
Area type
Mixed forests with heath and sandy areas
Natural process
Natural grazing
Flagship species
Bison
European bison in Veluwe
Member of:
European Wildlife Bank
The project focuses on providing space to roam for the still endangered European bison, allowing them to play their important role in this widely known nature area, while in the same time offering nature based tourism.
Leo Linnartz, ARK Nature
European bison in Veluwe area in The Netherlands.
Leo Linnartz
Bison are now well-known in this area and coexist with other fauna as well as being enclosed in the hearts of people.
Jan Ritzer
Since bison is still an endangered species, giving more space for them to roam is crucial.
Yvonne Verhoev-Witz

The bison reintroduction project in the Veluwe area is an initiative of the foundation ‘Wisent op de Veluwe’, in partnership with the State Forest Service and ARK Nature. The bison is introduced to rewild the Veluwe area as an additional large herbivore species to support natural grazing as a key ecological process. It is also meant to support wildlife-based economic activities such as bison-watching through guided excursions.

The Veluwe area, some 100,000 hectares in size, already holds good numbers of red and roe deer, wild boar, pine marten, badger and has an interesting birdlife, including the largest raven population in the country. A lot of nature bridges were built over the last decades to ensure connectivity between the different parts that are separated by roads and motorways. Bringing the European bison to this area is an important step towards a more diverse vegetation as the species opens up areas by its grazing, browsing, sand bathing and debarking of trees – thereby facilitating other species to benefit or colonize this wider variety of habitats.

Map
Country
Netherlands
Start year
2016
Size (ha)
400
Area type
Mixed forests with heath and sandy areas
Natural process
Natural grazing
Flagship species
Bison
Specification
Project: European bison in Veluwe
Region: Central Veluwe, The Netherlands
Type of protection: Natura 2000 area
Habitat types: Pine forests, deciduous forest (birch, oak), grasslands, heath vegetation and sandy areas.
Keystone species: Red deer and wild boar.
Fauna (mega) species present: Roe deer, fox and badger.
Description
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Methods and experiences to allow natural numbers and densities of native, wild or rewilded species, Pilot projects focusing on supporting key wildlife species being present in more natural densities, showing their role in the ecosystem, 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, Successful agreements with forestry entities about changing forestry practises into more nature-based management systems, Successful agreements with hunting entities about sustainable hunting and the development of wildlife watching tourism, in order to bring back wildlife in natural numbers
Aim and vision: To enrich the Veluwe area with the endangered European bison and its effects on the landscape, making it more natural. At the same time, provide visitors with possibilities to learn and enjoy nature here.
Bison numbers increase with their impact on the landscape being embraced. After a positive evaluation with all stakeholders the herd is allowed to roam together with other wildlife in a larger part of the Veluwe.
Uniqueness of the project: The bison area connects to the largest sand dune of NW Europe. The relief rich area includes heath and forest stands, and is home to many species including large wildlife. European bison roams here with wild boar and red deer, as only location in the Netherlands.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Recreational activities, Research
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: European bison numbers have increased into herd size with a natural consistency. Bison are now well-known in this area and coexist with other fauna as well as being enclosed in the hearts of people.
Results so far: Successful introduction of the European bison, involvement of many volunteers playing a role in monitoring and guided excursions.
Exchange
Inspirational value: Introducing such a charismatic species like European bison to one of the Netherlands most well-known natural regions, with potential to increase bison numbers in the future to a substantial level. Since bison is still an endangered species, giving more space for them to roam is crucial. In addition, European bison adds value to the local fauna, for nature as well as for people.
Experience you would like to share: Prepare and introduce European bison to a very new environment, with support of local stakeholders. Successful involvement of volunteers in the project.
Experience you would like to gain: Maintaining a well-balanced, positive relationship with local stakeholders. Gain knowledge on the ecological impact of the presence of European bison, living with other fauna species.
European bison in Veluwe
Member of:
European Wildlife Bank
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