May 24, 2017

Birth of European bison calf thanks to successful French integration

On May 22, 2017, the first European bison calf of the year was born in the Kraansvlak, part of the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park. It is the first calf that literally marks the success of the introduction of new animals last summer. In 2016 two bulls from a French nature reserve were introduced into the Kraansvlak herd. The French bulls were introduced to increase the genetic diversity in the herd.

Careful selection of animals at a European level for the import and export of animals within the Kraansvlak project, actively contributes to a wider genetic basis for the wisent, or the European bison, which is still considered an endangered species. There are now more than 6000 European bison, spread across Europe, but much more is needed to get the species out of the danger zone.

Up to this year, 23 calves were born in the Kraansvlak. Project partners PWN and ARK are pleased with the new birth and the beginning of the new genetic line. All Kraansvlak animals are registered in the Wisent studbook, which is kept in Poland. The gestation is approximately nine months. More births are expected in the coming period.

In 2016, eight European bison moved from the Kraansvlak to the Maashorst. The animals succesfully formed a herd as the birth of three wisent calves in early May shows. The three mothers all derived from the Kraansvlak herd. Since last year also a group of European bison lives on the Veluwe, centrally located in the Netherlands.

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Wisent met eerste kalf van 2017, foto: Ruud Maaskant