European bison reintroduced to roam freely in Britain

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Herne Bay, UK, (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – July 18, 2022): As the sun rose over south-east England on Monday, three bison emerged from a paddock in a new woodland home in part of an ambitious project to transform the nature environment.

The trio immediately began munching on birch leaves in the ancient woods near Canterbury, to restore and manage the area with their behavior – and minimal human interference.

It is the first time in millennia that the European bison – the continent’s largest land mammal and the closest living relative of the ancient steppe bison that once roamed Britain – will once again live in wild conditions.

“(It’s a) really momentous occasion today,” Mark Habben, of the Wildwood Trust, who is leading the five-year conservation project, told AFP.

“It couldn’t have gone better.

.. they looked back, looked at us and then disappeared into the woods,” he added, moments after the release.

The female bison – a matriarch and two younger cows – will now graze, eat bark, chop down trees and take so-called dust baths, stirring up the ground in the woods.

This creates a host of benefits, helping other species forge habitats while bison become perfect “ecosystem engineers”.

“We are doing this to restore the environment and restore a native English woodland and anything that thrives in and around that type of habitat,” Habben explained, saying it was “crucially important.”

“We don’t want to use machines…using indigenous resources, ecosystem engineers as we like to call them – in the form in this case of the European bison – is exactly the right thing to do.”

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