17 European Bison were released into the wild in Romania – plans to grow the population to 500 animals

| May 18, 2014 | Reply

Although this website is primarily dedicated to predators, it will also report about the conservation of other keystone species and animals that are part of an ecosystem or critical to predators as prey. It is crucial that ecosystems function with as many parts as possible. The less degraded, the better.

Beside large predators, large herbivores play a critical role in shaping ecosystems. It is great news that Rewilding Europe has just released 17 European Bison into Romania’s Southern Carpathian Mountains. The plans are to grow the population to 500 animals by 2024. A very ambitious plan but hopefully successful. A population that large could have a significant ecological impact.
Restoring the highly endangered European bison to Romania is not only great news for the species itself but for the whole ecosystem where they are reintroduced.

Possible positive effect for predators

It is hard to say how exactly this will benefit predators but there are a few possible ways how a growing bison population can benefit different predator species.

  • Wolves could benefit directly as they can hunt bison. The small population won’t sustain wolves and other prey species like deer or boar are an easier target but wolves in North America are known to prey on Bison in places like Yellowstone. Young and weak animals could be particularly vulnerable to wolf predation. That said, existing wolf populations won’t be a threat for the rewilding project.
  • Scavengers could benefit from Bisons that die of old age or disease. Examples incl. Red Foxes, Badgers, raptors like Common Buzzards or White-tailed Eagles and many insects and other small animals that eat carrion.
  • Bisons will keep some areas open which might be good for animals like rodents which in turn could benefit predator like Red Foxes, Stoats, Common Buzzards or different species of owls.

These are just a few examples how the restoration of European Bison could benefit predators (and of course many other species!).

This is a great project which hopefully will reach all its goals. And also hopefully other regions in Europe will follow. There are only about a little more than 3,000 European Bisons living in the wild while in reality their population should be many tens of thousands of animals. What a wonderful success it would be for conservation and nature in Europe if one day this species is back to those numbers!

More information:

Finally back on stage after more than 250 years!

Category: conservation

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