According to the Belgian TV-show “Dieren in nesten”, The European bison, the wolf, the brown bear, the wolverine, and the lynx are the “The Big 5 of Europe” – the continent’s five most impressive wild mammals. All these five are – and especially so the European bison which ranked as number 1 – among the symbolical species for Rewilding Europe and emblematic for the wildlife comeback in Europe.
Tag: European bison
A big herd of dozens of bison suddenly crosses the forest track ahead of us at full speed. A second or two later the large animals are already gone, impressingly fast and agile as they are. Well, I guess that was it. A bit of a disappointment of course, but at least we did see them. Living completely wild here as they do, I did expect them to be pretty shy and wary. Even though I had hoped to be able to photograph them… Luckily, I was soon to learn a few more things about bison.
When Colón, better knows as Columbus, on October the 11th in 1492 set foot on – what he believed to be India, but was in fact one of the Bahama islands – he witnessed a totally new world. People with ‘red’ skins, to be called Indians and above all an overwhelming natural world described in his letters back home to the Spanish King as refound Paradise. And not just wanting to make a good impression on the King that the expensive expedition was well spent money, but he was really impressed by the abundance of nature.
Sometimes I feel like a modern cowboy, or as someone once told me: a bison boy. This November, I ‘rounded-up’ two bison in Switzerland and transported them in my big trailer to Belgium; one of many small actions, but part of a much larger operation. Rewilding Europe has an ambitious plan to have breeding herds of bison grazing in several of its rewilding areas in eight years. But where do all these bison come from?
The comeback of European Bison in free-living herds of more than 100 animals in, at least, five areas is one of the targets of Rewilding Europe’s wildlife recovery programme for the coming ten years. To achieve this, Rewilding Europe commissioned Flaxfield Nature Consultancy to draw up an action plan and prepare two reintroductions of European Bison in the next two years.
Five European bison – 2 females and 3 males – were released in the Vanatori Neamt Nature Park in the eastern part of the Romanian Carpathian Mountains on March 22. The last record of wild bison in Romania dates back to 1852.
In a recent, three-day period I had wild encounters of similar sorts on two continents. Both encounters tell a story of past and current “re-wilding,” enabled through the vision and dedication of people and organizations that understand the essential role of wildness in a healthy and sane planet earth. We need these positive stories as much as we need the return of wildness that they chronicle.