Three young European bison from France were released by conservationists in the European Serengeti reserve for large ungulates this morning

2022 - 04 - 27

Three young European bison from the French reserve called Reserve Biologique des Monts d’Azur were released by conservationists in the European Serengeti reserve for large ungulates in the former Milovice military training area near Prague this morning. The animals come from the renowned reserve focusing on the breeding of large ungulates in France, which is located in the Monts d’Azur at the foothills of the Provence Alps.

“The animals undertook a journey around 1,400 kilometres long. The journey from France took a bit longer due to diversions than the trip of our bison to the same site, which started on Sunday,” said Dalibor Dostal, director of the European Wildlife conservation organisation that founded the European Serengeti nature reserve in 2015.

The bison coped with the transport without problems. “The animals arrived in good health, and they began grazing immediately after being released from the trailer and headed for a watering place,” added Dalibor Dostal.

Animal exchanges in the case of European bison are important to enhance the genetic diversity of herds. Humans nearly exterminated the bison, there were only twelve of them remaining in the world after the First World War. The rarer Białowieża line kept in the Milovice reserve even originates from a mere five animals.

The reserve for large ungulates was established in the former Milovice military training area in 2015. It is one of the globally most-watched nature conservation projects; media have written about it repeatedly on five continents, including prestigious titles such as New York Times, Washington Post, and BBC. The reserve currently keeps thirty bison, two herds of wild horses, and two herds of bred-back aurochs. It is the first location in the world that breeds these key large ungulate species within a single reserve.

By grazing, large ungulates help restore the biological diversity of the landscape. The reserve is also beneficial for adapting the landscape to climate change and has a positive effect on retaining water in the landscape. In addition, restoring natural processes within the reserve facilitates carbon sequestration in soil.

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