Ongoing conservation efforts mean the European bison recently moved from Vulnerable to Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Bianca Stefanut of the Southern Carpathians rewilding team describes the longstanding importance of this iconic animal to Romanian culture and ecology.
It is difficult to imagine the feelings of the first Europeans who stepped on the American continent. In that time, herds of millions of bison and pronghorn, followed by huge amount of wolves and giant grizzly bears lived on prairies. For cultivated Europeans endless and impenetrable forests with gigantic trees had to be frightening. This country evoked admiration and awe, as well as fear. It was a real wilderness, “a place without the God”, a place which had to be degraded on behalf of the civilization.