European Bison

Bison bonasus

About the Bison

The European Bison, also known as a wisent, is the heaviest land mammal in Europe, with large bulls capable of weighing up to 1,000kg! These animals have a huge roaming distance, originally being found across Europe, from France to what is now Asiatic Russia, however their populations were decimated up until 1927 where the species was determined entirely extinct in the wild. Since then, reintroduction programs in Poland, Lithuania, Russia and more have seen their numbers begin to recover around the continent. Despite these conservation efforts, these rare and incredible animals are still rarer than other, more high profile endangered animals, such as the black rhino, as their wild population stands at an estimated 3,400 bison.

Fact Finder

Wild bison are considered a source of pride for many rural villages in central and eastern Europe.

They have a life expectancy of up to 25 years in the wild.

Bison can often measure up to 10ft long and weigh up to 1,000kg!

European bison is largely herbivorous, enjoying fresh grass and foliage, however in times of scarcity, they will often eat tree bark.

The European Bison favours temperate woodland and forests for its ideal habitat, however, are only found in national parks and reserves since the eradication of their wild population in the 1920s.

Conservation status: Vulnerable

The European Bison is currently undergoing a process of reintroduction in their ancestral habitats throughout Europe following the extinction of the wild population in the 1920s.


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