The wild bison is set to return to England after 6,000 years

Experts are planning to reintroduce a male European bison and three females into the wild to restore a deteriorating ecosystem.

Thousands of years after the extinction of the wild European bison, many important wildlife species in England are also facing the risk of disappearance. In ancient times, the presence of the European bison contributed to a healthy ecosystem for other plant and animal species.

Experts are planning to bring the closest relatives of the extinct European bison, the European bison, to England to restore the ecosystem, as reported by CNN. The £1.4 million Wilder Blean project, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream, aims to bring a small herd of European bison to the West Blean forest near Canterbury, East Kent, in spring 2022.

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The European bison is a hopeful symbol for the restoration of nature in England. Image: CNN.

These bison will be provided by the Netherlands or Poland, two countries that have successfully reintroduced bison. The first herd of bison to arrive in England is expected to consist of one male and three females. Natural breeding will increase the herd size. Once the bison herd is stable within the fenced area, visitors will be able to visit and observe them.

Kent Wildlife Trust, one of the leading conservation organizations involved in the project, calls the European bison “ecosystem engineers.” They state that these animals can transform forests in ways that no other species can.

“The European bison eat tree bark and take dust baths, benefiting many plant and animal species. These have been absent from British forests for thousands of years,” says Kent Wildlife Trust.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), England is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Over 1/7 of native species are at risk of extinction, and over half of the species are declining.

“The Wilder Blean project will demonstrate that a natural and wild solution is appropriate to address the nature and climate crisis we are facing. Using key missing species like the European bison to restore the natural environment is the key to creating biodiversity for our landscapes,” shared Paul Hadaway, Director of Conservation at Kent Wildlife Trust.

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