Things are looking up for the long-lost European bison. It once dominated the open countryside of Europe, but was hunted to extinction in the wild by 1919.
Thanks to 54 zoo animals and breeding efforts, the population now numbers 3000 – although that still makes it rarer than the black rhino.
Now, rewilding initiatives are bringing this beast back into Europe’s wilderness, alongside other large grazers such as semi-wild horses and cattle bred to look like their extinct wild relatives (Read more about efforts to revive Europe’s long-lost beasts here).
Four bison – the continent’s largest land mammal – were released this month in Maashorst nature reserve in the Netherlands, with four due to arrive to Veluwe region next month. Another herd of 20 is headed for a May release in Romania.
Rewilding Europe, a Dutch trust behind many rewilding efforts on the continent, wants to establish at least five wild herds of 100 bison by 2022, and an overall wild population of 1000 by 2032. They have so far reintroduced more than 30 animals to the Carpathian mountains in Romania.
Keep on reading this article at New Scientist.