Wisents in Slovakia: the population has increased three times since 2004
There have already been twelve young animals born in a wild wisent population in Slovakia which was founded thanks to a reintroduction project in 2004. First five wisents were released into the wild at the end of 2004 in National Park Poloniny in the east of Slovakia. Since that time the population has increased up to more than a triple.
“In the year 2013 we are watching a herd of fifteen wisents and also two males which live separately,” says Stefan Pcola, a zoologist of National Park Poloniny.
The reintroduction project in Slovakia was initiated by Dutch Large Herbivore Foundation, today´s Large Herbivore Network. At the end of the year 2003 there began a building of an acclimatization fence in National Park Poloniny. The transport of first three wisents was realized on 13th June 2004. Its part was male Archie from Artis Zoo – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and two females Ittina and Pasqualina from Parco Zoo and Parco Natura Viva, Italy. Two days later, on 15th June 2004, male Izehärz and female Isabella from Natur-und Tierpark Goldau, Switzerland were brought there.
After a few-month stay in the acclimatization fence the group of five wisents was released into free nature on 10th December 2004. Several days later, 25th December 2004, a wildly-living male Pista, coming from a wild wisent population in Polish mountain range Biesczady, joined the group.
One year later, the group was completed with male Cvolonin and female Cvinka from Zoo Chomutov, the Czech Republic. The animals were placed in the acclimatization fence on 8th October 2005 and released into free nature on 10th October 2005.
The first young wisent in free nature after a lot of centuries was born in Slovakia on 14th July 2006 when female Pasqualina gave birth to female young Valentina. Last addition of the wisent population in Slovakia was on 8th September 2006 when female Cvrcala from Zoo Chomutov, the Czech Republic and female Pupava from Zoo Bratislava, Slovakia were brought into the acclimatization fence.
“The wisent return to Slovakia is an example of a successful reintroduction project which helped return this imposing animal species into another territory where it had lived before for thousands of years. Also for us it is a very important source of inspiration and experience,” stated Dalibor Dostal, the director of conservation organization European Wildlife.