December 22, 2016

Bison often seen at Bison Trail

Since the opening of the Bison Trail on September 1st, the bison have been regularly spotted from the path. Following access guidelines gives the best chance of a nice encounter with the herd.

The Duinpieperspad which lies on the west side outside the bison area, also regularly offers good views of the bison herd. Konik horses and Scottish highland cattle use the area as well. All three species have individuals equipped with a transmitter collar. The information that comes through, is used to monitor the animals and for research. Data shows that in September and October the bison mainly used the shrubbery- and woody parts of Kraansvlak. There they have been eagerly eating from fallen acorns. From November onwards, the herd frequently uses the entire area, including the west side where the Bison Trail is located.

Hikers using the Bison Trail often see the animals. The animals are used to be visited from a disctance and show themselves well. At both entrances to the trail, access guidelines are clearly given. It is not allowed to go off path here because this area traditionally is a rest area for nature. The trail is marked with yellow capped posts. Dogs are not allowed here, also not on a leash. Jogging is not recommended on this path.

When meeting bison and other large herbivores a minimum distance of 50 meters should be kept at all times. The animals can choose their route undisturbed in this area, give them space to do so. The bison themselves use the path by regularly crossing it. In this case, wait until the animals have crossed and never cross the herd. Taking the guidelines into account gives the best chance to see the bison and their natural behaviour.

From April 2007 bison live in Kraansvlak. In 2009 they were joined by konik horses and since the summer of 2016, Scottish highland cattle are present. The bison herd has grown to 16 animals of which the majority is born in Kraansvlak. Bison are social animals and move mainly with the herd. It also happens that the herd splits into subgroups. This dynamic we have seen more often in recent months. So always look well when using the Bison Trail; it is possible that bison are spread nearby.

Since November 2012, the Bison Trail is opened a few months a year for hikers. Since then, many visitors used the path. Prior to the current opening more than 15,000 visits took place. On a regular base, highly involved volunteers are present at the path to provide information about the dune area, the project and the bison. The bison are seen here regularly, also from outside the Bison Trail from Duinpieperspath and from the observation point near the lake on the east side of Kraansvlak. Click here for more information on visiting the area.

The photo was taken by researcher Louise Prévot during her study on the foraging behaviour of the bison.


Bison on Bison Trail