February 10, 2012

Update successful wisentpilot Kraansvlak

As it has been a while since the latest news was posted on this English website hereby an update about the pilot which is still carried out in the Kraansvlak area with great enthusiasm.

After the fourth wisent calve (all females) was born in 2009, a small group of konik horses was introduced in the same area. Both animal species are doing great which is indicated by the health of the herds as well as the birth of several juveniles per species.
In 2010, two calves were born during summer. This time the rangers and students involved in the pilot welcomed the first male calf born in the wild in the Netherlands! Also the konik group increased in numbers; four male foals were born in the first year after arrival in the Kraansvlak. Unfortunately one of them died in 2011 due to unknown causes.

Last year the adult male wisent became a proud father again, this time of a son and two daughters. They are doing very well. Within the konik herd, also three individuals were welcomed. The first female was born in April and two males followed soon after. So also the stallion performed very well; the foals born in 2011 were his first offspring.

Of each herd one individual is equipped with a GPS transmitter which enables us to find them easier and gives interesting information about their daily activity and habitat use.

In the past months, the wisentpilot received a lot of attention, not only from the general public which visited the area during excursions, also media found their way to this successful project. Dutch television, newspapers, National Geographic, wildlife photographers, they all visited the Kraansvlak and there was international attention of nature conservationists too. For a nice blog about this click here.

In short, the herds are doing great and still valuable experiences together with interesting results from research including diet composition, habitat use and social behaviour is being gained. As plans for the near future are discussed at this moment, new messages will appear on this website!


Bison in the Kraansvlak dune area. Photo: Ruud Maaskant