Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens
AG Säugetierkunde in NRW
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The European Bison is the largest and heaviest land mammal in Europe. Originally the species was native to large parts of Europe but it was already displaced from West and Central Europe in the early Middle Ages. The last wild populations were eradicated in Poland in 1919 and 1927.
Reintroduction from captive bred stock took place in the 1950s. Today about 4000 European Bison live in wild or semi-wild bison populations in Russia, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Ukraine, and Germany.
In North Rhine-Westphalia in Siegen-Wittgenstein in 2010 European Bison were released into a naturalization enclosure, which was opened on 11 April 2013. European Bison live in herds of cows, calves and younger bulls, in pure bull groups and as solitary old bulls. The group size is between eight and thirteen animals. In the beginning of the mating season starting the second half of August, mixed groups form, and the dominant bulls move to the family herds. European Bison feed on grasses, herbs, twigs and leaves, mosses and lichens; in autumn, also tree fruits and tree bark.
Alongside the wild European Bison in Wittgenstein, a group lives in the Wisentwelt Wittgenstein in a viewing enclosure. Additionally, in North Rhine-Westphalia, there is an enclosure in Hardehausen.
Petrak M (2023): Wisent (Bison bonasus).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/09/29