Monday, July 18, 2022

Rewilding in England

 So much news about England and heat. It will get to about 99 degrees today and about 103 tomorrow. For those of you who have been to the UK - you know how hot that is for them. Add to it that no air-conditioning in most of the country. Recipe for disaster.

But that is not what we are discussing today. I talked previously about the idea of rewilding, with Scotland is doing a lot of it. Well, England takes another step towards rewilding by releasing wild European bison. 

They are releasing them into a forest that doesn't have much wildlife at all, it has been cleared, replanted since the 1500s. They hope that by releasing these Bison they will eat the underbrush, allowing renewal of native plants to grow on the forest floor and make the forest livable for more wildlife, insects (like bees) and open up some paths to more people.

These European Bison are from a zoo project in the Netherlands, and have already been reintroduced there. Some of the big differences between American Bison (buffalos) and European is that American Bison are grazers and lived on the plains where they are plenty of grasses to eat. The European Bison are browsers and like woodlands. A key difference is also how the fight. American Bison charge and butt each other - and the random humans that get too close. Ask many injured Yellowstone visitors and cars. European Bison instead lock horns with other males. And these are pretty used to humans (they are from zoo breeding) and so far haven't had any encounters with people, even hikers, in Netherlands, and they don't expect them in England,

They are starting with 3 females (it is a matriarchal animal) from a zoo in Dublin. They plan to introduce a male from Germany in mid-August - they were suppose to be released simultaneously but, you know, Brexit paperwork.

Anyway - very cool. Story here).

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