The first young wisent this year was born today in our nature reserve; male Polanin has become a father for the first time

2017 - 05 - 09
The first young wisent this year was born today in a nature reserve; male Polanin has become a father for the first time

The first of this year´s young wisent was born today in the large herbivore reserve in a former military area in Milovice, which is only 30 kilometres from the capital city of Prague.

“It was born this morning most probably – the female still had the placenta. The young is almost certainty a female,” stated Dalibor Dostal, the Director of the European Wildlife conservation organisation.

The new member has changed the herd’s behaviour. The male wisent started to defend the territory much more, and it is more nervous. And to such an extent that at some moments the mother had to protect the newly born young even against the male itself, which knocked the young wisent down once. The herd with the young moved to the same place as last year, into a thick cover of green pine trees, where it is better hidden.

Today´s young is the first one ever for the father, which is local male Polanin III, a five-year-old wisent bull from the Polish reserve Gołuchow. The new member is thus the very first, one-hundred-percent local wisent young which was born in the reserve. Last year´s young, female Tula, was conceived in the Polish reserve Pszczyna, where its already pregnant mother arrived from.

“We are glad the young birth has shown the herd which had been created for the reserve is capable of reproduction,” added Dalibor Dostal. Wisents were, actually, almost exterminated at the beginning of the twentieth century, so the lowland line, bred in the reserve, had been created by just five founding animals. Crossbreeding of closely relative animals causes a small genetic variability of the wisent population, which shows even in some genetic conditioned illnesses, including relatively often infertility of the bulls.

“During last year we only saw unsuccessful attempts of our young wisent bull to copulate. He was a little less than four years old and we were not sure if he was experienced and mature enough to seduce the females; half of them were older than him. Now it is evident he is,” said Miloslav Jirků of the Biology Centre of the Academy of sciences of the Czech Republic.

The wisent young was not the only one new member which was born in the reserve today. A wild horse foal was also born, the eighth one this year. Altogether eighteen young have been born in the reserve so far this year.

In 2015 the former military area became the first nature reserve in the world where all three crucial kinds of large herbivores of Europe are bred – wisents, wild horses and backbred aurochs. In 2016 the locality became the first one in the world where all three kinds succeeded in reproducing within one reserve.

The former military area was used by the armies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, Germany and the Soviet Union. The last soldiers left in 1991. In 2015 a reserve was founded there for large-hoofed animals.

Photo: Michal Köpping

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