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6 thoughts on “Last year for wild bison in Germany

  1. Dear Dr. Peter Herold,

    Thank you for your comment. To avoid any confusion for our international readers, I’ve updated the terminology of the bison into European bison.

  2. At issue here is whether a BfN-funded project of scientific observation that started out on the basis of a spatially limited or restricted area should be regarded as a de facto reintroduction of bison to wild living in Germany. Clearly, the casual outward dispersal of these bison does not fit with the intent or procedures in IUCN Guidelines for Re-introductions, nor in reality has it met the aims of the BfN project funding or the BfN position statement on bison from 2008 in terms of building acceptance for their release. That the project is now to be moved mainly on to state forest land owned by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia should be the point at which a clear decision is made about whether it will proceed as a formal trial of the re-introduction of bison and what criteria there will be under the IUCN Guidelines to judge whether the trial is a success.

  3. Dear Max, that’s exactly what I was talking about …

  4. Hi Peter,

    the two remaining bisons species are in fact really not related to each other. They share a similar name where the North American Bison is referred to as Bison bison and the European as Bison bonasus. The North American Bison is often called Buffalo even though it is only distantly related to the true buffalo. The Europan Bison Bonasus is typically referred to as Wisent. Going back in time to the late latin era, it is assumed that the word Bison was derived from the old German word Wisund (Friedrich Kluge, Elmar Seebold: Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache).

    So in fact we have two animals looking similar, who are not related on a molecular basis with different sizes but sharing a similar name derived from each other.

    Fact is nevertheless, that we there were several successful reintroductions of the Wisent in Romania and Poland and in Germany, with the notable exception that due to complains by foresters the German Bison Bonasus will now end up behind a fence in a semi zoo of 1500 ha. This will obviously lead to the need to control their offspring by culling to not repeat the disaster of the Oostvaardersplassen reserve. It looks like a nature conservation project ended up as a wildlife safari park for trophy hunters. What a lost chance to have these fantastic animals contribute to the rewinding of Europe.

  5. Dear Nick, we are not talking of Bison (Bison bison) here, but of Wisent or European Bison (Bison bonasus). A difference not only of some couple of hundreds of kilos per animal, but also of different behaviour, diet etc. pp. Just to make that clear to anyone. Best regards, Peter

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