August 10, 2015

Bison bulls Kraansvlak on way to Spain

Two bison from Kraansvlak, the dune area between Overveen and Zandvoort, recently started their journey to Spain. There the bulls each go to another nature area. They will form a new group with the already present bison cows and in this way contribute to enlarge the genetic basis of the species present in Spain. The European bison is still listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Projectpartners PWN and ARK Nature, responsible for the first and still only Dutch bison project (started in 2007), are very pleased that now it is their turn to make animals available for other bison areas. From the start of the project in Kraansvlak, one of the primary goals has been to contribute to the conservation of this endangered animal species of which circa 5,000 individuals are living today. With the translocation of the bulls to two starting bison projects in Spain, for the first time bison from Dutch nature find a new home abroad.

The transport of the animals is arranged by Joep van de Vlasakker from Flaxfield Nature Consultancy, who has extensive experience with translocating wildlife including bison. Since 2012, this organisation works together with the Spanish branch of the European Bison Conservation Centre (EBCC-Spain) on the reintroduction of bison in North-Spain. One bull from Kraansvlak travels to the area Atapuerca (also famous for its archeological findings), and is managed by Living Palaeolithic Association. Besides bison, (wild) horses and cattle are present in this area. In the future, the animals will roam in an area of circa 800 hectares. The second bull travels to an area managed by Wild Fauna Museum Foundation, located near the Cantabrian Mountains. Here a breeding programme for bison started. In the near future the area in which bison and other herbivores will roam is enlarged to circa 500 hectares.

The bulls have been prepared for their big journey in the best possible way. They were held in a specially by PWN designed enclosure, the veterinarian of the project checked the health of the animals and they have been monitored very regularly by the bison project members. The herd in Kraansvlak comprises of 22 individuals now the two bulls left. This number includes the five calves born this year.

The two young bulls have been born in the dune area Kraansvlak some years ago. They are the offspring of Polish bison, which were part of the starting group in Kraansvlak. Because the bulls are related to most of the rest of the herd, it was now time to translocate them and give them the possibility to start their own herd. PWN and ARK Nature hope the bulls will become just as successful as their father, who was responsible for many offspring in Kraansvlak.


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