First European bison twins in the Czech Republic born in the large ungulate reserve last year

2019 - 04 - 18

The very first European bison twins in the history of the Czech Republic were born last year in the large ungulate reserve in the former military area of Milovice, not far from the Czech capital of Prague.

“European bison female usually have one baby once every one, two or three years. Having twins is quite exceptional. We found out, based on stud book records, that this is the very first time that European bison twins have ever been born in the Czech Republic,” said Dalibor Dostal, director of European Wildlife conservation organisation.

Two females were born last year on 12 June. The fact that they are twins was discovered from analyses of photo trap footage and shots taken in the subsequent months. After the birth of young ones, the herd is always more cautious, and mothers feed their calves in seclusion, which makes monitoring even more difficult. In addition, European bison female feed not only their own, but other calves, too, so random observation of two calves suckling milk from one female does not indicate anything. This is why shots from the photo trap were decisive.

“Many recordings made by the photo traps in the second half of 2018 confirm that both calves remained with one female all the time, and drank her milk regularly. This rules out the possibility that they are calves from two different females,” Miloslav Jirku from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences noted.

This situation is also unusual in an international context. “This is a very rare situation. We only registered two twin births, and one more unconfirmed yet, in the EBPB, of which only one pair lives (in Eriksberg, Sweden),” added Małgorzata Bołbot, assistant editor from European Bison Pedigree Book.

In total, four European bison calves were born in the large ungulate reserve in Milovice last year: two males and two females. This means that the former military area is now home to 21 European bison.

Photo: Michal Köpping

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