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Long-lost bison will roam in Kent from today in latest rewilding project in Canterbury

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Bison are back in Britain: Long-lost giant will roam in Kent from today in latest rewilding project featuring a bull from Germany

  • Bison are being introduced right into a British woodland to tackle climate crisis
  • European beasts way as much as a ton and have been extinct in UK for six,000 years
  • This is a component of a £1.2million project to ‘rewild’ Britain, slowing global warming

Wild bison might be released into the Kent countryside today as a part of a £1.2million project to ‘rewild’ Britain and help slow global warming.

The massive beasts, which weigh as much as a ton, have been extinct on this country for six,000 years.

Now it’s hoped the European bison will help to revitalise ancient woodland and create an ‘explosion of biodiversity’. 

Home on the range: A 12-year-old male bison pictured on the Wildwood Trust near Canterbury in Kent in July 2020 as bison are being introduced into an ancient British woodland to assist tackle the climate crisis, conservationists said

Pictured: A European Bison in its enclosure at the Wildwood Trust on March 11 2021

Pictured: A European Bison in its enclosure on the Wildwood Trust on March 11 2021

Shaggy-haired bison weighing over a ton are to be set free in Kent in the next few days

Shaggy-haired bison weighing over a ton are to be let loose in Kent in the subsequent few days

The ‘Aryan’ animal loved by Nazis

  • European bison suffered an enormous blow when First World War German troops killed 600 in Poland for sport and meat, leaving just a number of survivors.
  • The last wild bison was shot by poachers on the Poland-Belarus border in 1927.
  • But 50 remained in zoos, and eventually their offspring led to reintroductions in Poland, Germany and Romania.
  • Nazi air force chief Hermann Goering considered bison as a noble Aryan animal. He had a small herd near Berlin.
  • Bison tend to indicate homosexual behaviour. Greater than 55 per cent of mounting tends to be young males with the identical gender.

 

Initially, one male and three female bison – a bull from Germany, a matriarch from Scotland and two children from Ireland – are being introduced. It’s hoped they are going to breed over time to create a herd.

The European bison – the continent’s largest land mammal – are a detailed relative of the kind that when roamed the UK, the extinct steppe bison. They’re barely larger than the American bison, but less heavy and aggressive.

The animals are referred to as ‘eco-system engineers’, creating muddy ponds, pushing down trees and disturbing the soil to assist plants and other animals thrive.

They might be released right into a large fenced off enclosure in West Blean and Thornden Woods, near Canterbury. Donovan Wright, who will take care of their welfare in the previous industrial pine plantation, said: ‘You get this ricochet effect through the ecosystem, so many species are capable of profit.’

Paul Whitfield, director-general of the Wildwood Trust, which is leading the project with the Kent Wildlife Trust, said: ‘They’ll create an explosion of biodiversity and construct habitat resilience, locking in carbon to assist reduce temperature rise. This may act as an enormous catalyst for change.’

Evan Bowen-Jones, chief executive of Kent Wildlife Trust, added: ‘We’d like to revolutionise the way in which we restore natural landscapes – relying less on human intervention and more on natural engineers resembling bison, boar and beaver.’

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