European bison are now roaming free in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria for the first time since the Middle Ages. This will help to boost local biodiversity and underpin the development of nature-based tourism.
The transport of female bison to the release site in the Țarcu Mountains and breeding centre in Hunedoara will enhance the genetic viability of the area’s free-roaming herds and help to minimise the need for future long-distance translocations.
The reintroduction of another European bison herd in the Southern Carpathians rewilding area continues efforts to establish a viable, free-roaming population of this keystone species. This will further increase the benefits to both wild nature and local communities.
How can wild nature help to develop a region? At the beginning of May a group of social entrepreneurship professors and students met with community representatives in the Southern Carpathians rewilding area for a brainstorming session. The ideas they generated will help to develop nature-based business and reinforce the connection between people and locally reintroduced bison.
Until they become acclimatised to fully wild conditions, bison reintroduced into the Southern Carpathians of Romania may be tempted to approach farms and villages looking for food, especially during periods of harsh weather. The local rewilding team monitors the bison – and provides villagers with guidance and information – to ensure both animals and people remain safe at all times.
This autumn, WWF Taskforce member Bianca Ștefănuț was part of a team helping to develop nature-based tourism in the Southern Carpathians rewilding area. Here she relates her memorable experience.
The release of European bison into the wild in both Southern Carpathian rewilding areas represents another milestone in the comeback of this magnificent and ecologically important animal.
As rangers at the second European bison reintroduction site in the Southern Carpathians rewilding area, the efforts of Marius Gârdean and Roland Hauptman have been vital to the success of the project. On the occasion of World Ranger Day, Rewilding Europe caught up with them to thank them for their ongoing support, and to learn more about their lives and work.
The animals, which are acclimatising quickly, will soon join the existing herd of bison in the area, boosting the role of the Rhodope Mountains as a breeding centre and benefitting local biodiversity.