April 9, 2016

‘Our’ bison accustomed to Maashorst

A month ago, eight bison from Kraansvlak were translocated to nature area the Maashorst in the Province of Brabant. The animals are doing well. They are exploring their new environment together with three animals brought in from German bison areas soon after.

After months of preparations, March 7 and 8 have been important days for the project as part of the herd from Kraansvlak moved to the Maashorst area. By bringing in the Kraansvlak animals, it became the second nature area in Holland where bison live under natural conditions. A few days later the group got company by unrelated animals coming from Germany. Soon, the bison formed a herd. In the new group composition, hierarchy is determined by social interactions especially amongst animals from similar age. These 'fights' are not that violent at all, and ultimately secure peace within the herd. 

The bison herd at Maashorst has a terrain of 200 hectares to roam in with grassy meadows, shrubberies, forested parts and wet areas. Tracks of where the bison have been can be seen throughout the area. With the temperature rising and summer ahead, the bison take sand baths and scrub against trees to a large extent in order to get rid of the warm wintercoat. Bison fur is left behind which might mean great news for birds that have their focus set to build their nests these days. 

On April 8, exactly a month after the release of the last Kraansvlak bison in Maashorst, projectcoordinator of Kraansvlak Yvonne Kemp visited the Maashorst and its bison herd. The animals form a calm herd, just like we are used to in Kraansvlak. By monitoring the herd in this new bison area, additional information about the ecology of the species presents itself. The Maashorst is a very different area compared to the rolling dunes of Kraansvlak. The team involved in Kraansvlak is very interested to hear about the experiences that are now being gained at Maashorst. Of course, the Maashorst team will always be very welcome to stay updated about the knowledge we are gaining in Kraansvlak!

In Kraansvlak, the herd is also doing very well. After the translocation, the herd now numbers 14 animals.


Wisenten Maashorst