Bison on the dunes at Kraansvlak, Netherlands. Image: Ruud Maaskant, PNW
Planet happy news
Lack of woodland management is one of the eight biggest drivers of species decline in the UK, Wilder Blean aims to bring transformational change through a controlled trial with bison, a missing principle species that is able to naturally manage woodlands. Species in the UK are declining at their fastest rate for thousands of years according to the latest State of Nature report and unfortunately human management alone is not enough to create the kinds of habitats UK species need.
The return of bison will aim to restart natural processes, creating a vibrant woodland that can support an abundance of wildlife. Through grazing, foraging, wallowing and trampling, the hefty bison will boost habitat diversification.
Although European bison were never native to the UK, Steppe Bison and other wild grazing animals once were. European bison are now our best chance at recreating those grazing behaviours that once existed. Despite their size, bison are peaceful animals whose ability to fell trees by rubbing up against them and eating the bark, gives space for other plants and animals to thrive. Bison will be joined by other grazing animals creating the greatest plant and animal diversity possible.
Unknown to the Wilder Blean project, one of the three females was already pregnant before being released, and to the surprise of the woodland rangers a calf was born in September. A bull joined the all-female herd back in December and over time will naturally grow the herd.
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