A European bison trio from the former military area was transported to a new reserve

2020 - 01 - 16

Central Europe now has a new reserve with European bison. This afternoon, conservationists transported three females of this endangered species from the former military area of Milovice. The animals travelled from the location close to Prague to the western part of the Czech Republic.

First of all, they were anaesthetised by a vet using a rifle. Then they were loaded into special crates. “The fact that the herd was located in dense vegetation and in the most remote part of the reserve made the capture and loading of the animals more complicated. The loading took much longer than we had expected. Each animal in the crate had to be transported through the whole grazing land. And the transporting vehicles had to move very slowly in the waterlogged and rough terrain,” Dalibor Dostal, director of European Wildlife conservation organization said. The organization founded the large ungulate reserve in the former military area in 2015. These complications meant that the animals were unloaded at night.

The transportation substituted the natural process. “The females have grown to an age when they would naturally leave their native herd. Moreover, they could be sexually mature, so it was necessary to separate them from their father and brothers so that inbreeding would not be possible,” Miloslav Jirku from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences added.

The new reserve, located close to the town of Rokycany, has been home to a herd of wild horses from the former military area of Milovice since last October. Besides them, many rare species live there, too, such as stone crayfish, grass snakes, agile frogs, common toads and red-backed shrikes. It is the habitat of many rare plants too: Siberian iris, globe flowers and shining meadow rue.

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